Can i take mucinex while breastfeeding?

(August 13, 2010)

Mucinex is a cough medicine that is easily available over the counter at most pharmacies. It does not suppress the cough however makes it more effective. The active ingredient in this medicine is Guaifenisen. It acts as an expectorant so it helps to ease the congestion as well as expels the mucus and phlegm when you cough. The effects of this medicine last for around 12 hours. The dosage of cough medicines is generally less for infants and children as these medicines can have strong allopathic compounds. The dosage of cough medicine is also different for pregnant and breastfeeding women and so it is imperative that you discuss all medications during pregnancy with your doctor before you take them.

It is important for a mother who is breastfeeding to be careful with whatever she eats be it food or medication as everything she has ultimately reached her baby through the breast milk. Guaifenisen, in cough medicines, is metabolized into pseudoephedrine and this is transmitted into the breast milk. Pseudieohedrine is known to significantly reduce your breast milk. However a dose or two will not dry up your milk supply but it would affect it to some extent. It can also cause changes in behavioral patterns in infants. Several cough medicines also contain non active ingredients such as chemicals and dyes. Hence it is best to avoid these medicines as it can have a serious impact on your baby’s health and behavior.

Some of the common side effects that women have complained of are dizziness, headaches and upset stomachs. Some other rare but potentially serious side effects are allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of face, lips or tongue and difficulty breathing; in such a case, emergency medical aid is necessary. Although several cough medicines are easily available over the counter you should consult your doctor before taking it if you have a cough when you are pregnant and breastfeeding. If you have taken any medication and you notice that the cough worsens after 7 to 10 days or if you get fever and rash, you will need to talk to your doctor immediately. You can also try to use simple home remedies during pregnancy such as inhaling steam in order to clear congestion. You can also use a dropper to place a few drops of warm saline solution into your blocked nostrils as this will help to clear congestion and get rid of excess nasal discharge. You can also gargle your throat with warm water and salt to help clear chest congestion.         

Submitted by P T on August 13, 2010 at 12:55

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