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OK for pregnant women to use cough medicine

Despite earlier warnings based on animal research, a new controlled study found no extra risk of major malformations in infants of women who took dextromethorphan (DM), an active ingredient in common over-the-counter cough suppressants, during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

The findings were reported in February's CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Although DM has been on the market for years, this was the first controlled study in humans to investigate the cough medication for safety during pregnancy. Before that, a widely publicized study based on chick embryo research had concluded that women should not use DM during pregnancy.