Skip to Content

Codeine / guaifenesin / pseudoephedrine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Codeine / guaifenesin / pseudoephedrine is also known as: Ambifed CD, Ambifed CDX, Ambifed-G CD, Ambifed-G CDX, Cheratussin DAC, Co-Histine Expectorant, Decohistine Expectorant, Deproist with Codeine, Guaifen DAC, Guiatussin DAC, Lortuss EX, Maxifed CD, Maxifed CDX, Maxifed-G CD, Maxifed-G CDX, Medent C, Novahistine Expectorant, Nucofed Expectorant, Robitussin-DAC, Ryna-CX, Tricode GF, Tusnel C, Tussar-2, Virtussin DAC, Z-Tuss E

Codeine / guaifenesin / pseudoephedrine Pregnancy Warnings

Benefit should outweigh risk Comments: -Prolonged use of opioids during pregnancy can result in physical dependence in the neonate; women should be advised of the risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available. -Pseudoephedrine should be avoided during the first trimester.

In rats, codeine has been shown to be embryolethal and fetotoxic at maternally toxic doses. In rats and rabbits administered doses ranging from 5 to 120 mg/kg during the period of organogenesis, teratogenicity was not observed. Prolonged use of opioids during pregnancy has resulted in babies being born physically dependent. Opioids administered to mothers shortly before delivery may result in some degree of newborn respiratory depression, especially with higher doses. Limited data is available on the oral use of phenylephrine in pregnancy. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. In rabbits and rats, pseudoephedrine in doses of 35 and 50 times the human daily dose, respectively, have not produced teratogenic effects. Limited data in human pregnancy has shown an elevated risk of gastroschisis (defective closure of the abdominal wall) with first-trimester use; vascular disruption has been postulated as the etiology. There are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women.

See references

Codeine / guaifenesin / pseudoephedrine Breastfeeding Warnings

Codeine is present in breast milk and for women with normal codeine metabolism (normal CYP450 2D6 activity). The amount of codeine secreted is low and dose-dependent; however, in women who are ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine (those with a specific CYP450 2D6 genotype) higher-than-expected serum levels of morphine (codeine's active metabolite) may be present in breast milk which may lead to dangerously high serum morphine levels in breastfed infants. In most cases, a person's specific CYP450 2D6 genotype is unknown. Several small series and 1 small retrospective study suggest that codeine may be causative in episodes of apnea, bradycardia, and cyanosis in the first week of life. A death of a breastfeed infant due to respiratory depression has been reported; the mother was found to be a CYP450 2D6 ultrarapid metabolizer. Pseudoephedrine may occasionally cause irritability in a nursing infant. A single dose has been shown to decrease milk production acutely while repeated use seems to interfere with lactation. This drug has been used to decrease milk supply. Mothers whose lactation is not established and mothers who are having difficulties producing sufficient milk should not take pseudoephedrine. The effect of guaifenesin on breastfed infant is unknown but not expected to be harmful. Alcohol may be present in cough and cold products and use of high alcohol containing products should be avoided while nursing.

Benefit should outweigh risk Excreted into human milk: Yes (codeine); Unknown (guaifenesin); Yes (pseudoephedrine) Comments: -The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that other agents are preferred over codeine during breastfeeding. -If used, mother-infant pairs should be closely monitored; treating pediatricians should be advised about the use of codeine during breast-feeding.

See references

References for pregnancy information

  1. "Product Information. Codeine Sulfate (codeine)." Roxane Laboratories Inc, Columbus, OH.
  2. Smith CV, Rayburn WF, Anderson JC, Duckworth AF, Appel LL "Effect of a single dose of oral pseudoephedrine on uterine and fetal Doppler blood flow." Obstet Gynecol 76 (1990): 803-6
  3. Werler MM, Mitchell AA, Shapiro S "First trimester maternal medication use in relation to gastroschisis." Teratology 45 (1992): 361-7
  4. "Product Information. Robitussin-DAC Syrup (codeine/guaifenesin/PSE)" Whitehall-Robins, Madison, NJ.

References for breastfeeding information

  1. Seymour S "Joint Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee Meeting, FDA Introductory Remarks. Available from: URL:" ([2015, Dec 10]):
  2. United States National Library of Medicine "Toxnet. Toxicology Data Network. Available from: URL:" ([cited 2013 -]):

See Also...

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Wolters Kluwer Health and is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This drug information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for any given patient. Multum Information Services, Inc. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. Copyright 2000-2008 Multum Information Services, Inc. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.