Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine Fertility That Works for Regular Folks


Risks of Robitussin/Guaifenesin
for Fertility?

By Brian Carter, MS, LAc

Hello my name is E-----. I am taking Robitussin / guaifenesin for a sinus problem I cough all night long and it's so dry I can't breath I just started today with this med. I also read that it helps with infertility I am 40 with one working tubule doctors want to give me shots that cost 3 thousand to increase my chances with ovulation I don't have that kind of money all so taking vitex taking as bottle said can you help and if so will Robitussin / guaifenesin decrease my chances thank you for your time.
- E.R.


You may want to read Lynda Harvey's August 1, 2002 article on Fertility and Acupuncture... the results of a fairly new study show that a particular set of acupuncture points almost doubled the effectiveness of in-vitro fertilization. Increasing your chances with each procedure could save you a lot of money!

In response to your question about Robitussin/Guaifenesin, infertility is complex... and there are different causes for it. The cure should take into account the root causes of your infertility.

The Chinese Medicine Alternative

You may want to see a qualified acupuncturist/chinese herbalist. Why?

  • First of all, they could prescribe you an herbal formula for your cough and sinuses. Herbs in formulas have less side-effects than single herbs, over the counter (OTC) medications or drugs. Drugs, including OTC meds, are more likely to have adverse effects elsewhere in the body. Their intended effects may be targeted, but their side effects are not.
  • Second, she might also be able to help you with the infertility (acupuncture, moxa, and herbs).

Robotussin/Guaifenesin for Fertility

Robitussin/Guaifenesin may help if your problem is cervical mucus (click here for more about that ). Its safety in pregnant or nursing mothers has not yet been established. However, Dextromethorphan, another Robitussin ingredient, caused birth defects in animal studies (read the research abstract), and it can be addictive (read the research abstract).

Chinese Medicine Speculations

In Chinese Medicine, the dryness of your cough could correlate with other types of dryness. I was concerned that it might worsen any underlying deficiency that is the cause of your infertility. The guaifenesin is an expectorant (meaning it helps expel stubborn phlegm), but does not appear to be drying. It has an upward action, and that is why it can cause headaches and dizziness. These are speculative interpretations of the properties and functions of guaifenesin in Chinese Medical terms.


Nonetheless, you need relief, so go check out an herbalist for the cough and sinuses. And they can advise you about how to make your insides more hospitable for fertilization. Let me know if you need help finding one in your area. I'm writing an article with resources about that SOON. But you don't have to wait- go here to search the whole U.S. If you're in California, there's a different one.

When you call the prospective acupuncturist/herbalist, ask them if have the training and experience to give you herbs for sinus/cough and fertility.

All the best!



  1. http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/cm.html
  2. Andaloro VJ, Monaghan DT, Rosenquist TH. Dextromethorphan and other N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists are teratogenic in the avian embryo model. Pediatr Res 1998 Jan;43(1):1-7
  3. Murray S, Brewerton T. Abuse of over-the-counter dextromethorphan by teenagers. Murray S, Brewerton T.
  4. http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/guaifen_wcp.htm

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