The Safety of Dextromethorphan in Pregnancy: Results of a Controlled Study

; ; and , Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University Of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


CHEST. 2001;119(2) 

In This Article


We were able to ascertain the outcomes of 184 pregnancies exposed to DM, of which 128 exposures occurred in the first trimester of pregnancy. The characteristics of the women lost to follow-up were not different from the women successfully enrolled in the study. Sixty percent of the women used DM in combination with other cough and cold products. Fifty percent of the women reported using other medications during their pregnancy, all of which are known to be nonteratogenic. Many of the women did not remember the exact amount taken, so we classified the range of doses as low, medium, and high (Table 1).

In the study group, there were a total of 172 live births,[10] spontaneous abortions (5.4%),[1] therapeutic abortion, and 1 stillbirth. There were six babies born with major malformations; however, one was a chromosomal abnormality and two were born to women who used DM during the second and third trimester, so the actual number of babies with major malformations of women who used DM in the first trimester was three (2.3%). There were 10 minor malformations, of which seven women were exposed to DM in the first trimester and the mean (± SD) birth weight was 3,381 ± 670 g.

In the control group, there were 174 live births,[8] spontaneous abortions (4.3%),[2] therapeutic abortions, and no stillbirths. There were five major malformations, one of which was also a chromosomal abnormality (2.2%), eight minor malformations, and the mean birth weight was 3,446 ± 571 g (Table 2).

There were no significant differences in the maternal characteristics or outcome measures between the groups.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: