Friday, April 30, 2010

But you still take it orally...

A friend recently pointed me to this article in the Globe and Mail [Robitussin: Pregnancy in a $5 bottle of hope]. Apparently, couples having trouble conceiving are turning to the cough medicine Robitussin. And not just because nobody wants a partner with a wet, hacking cough. (Though I'm not up to date on the latest fetishes). The premise is simple: Robitussin contains guaifenesin which thins mucus. Women report that it also works on cervical mucus which facilitates the passage of sperm.

Unfortunately, while the theory makes sense there is little in the way of scientific study to back it up. The first report in the literature was in 1982 (described in the G&M article), and there is a single case study since then that involved guaifenesin use.

Not unexpectedly, that means most of the claims about guaifenesin and pregnancy remain in the realm of anecdote across message boards and in pregnancy books. Also unsurprisingly, many of the comments on the Globe and Mail piece blame the lack of study on Big Pharma conspiracy keeping down a cheap alternative to IVF. The original article is worth a read for a more balanced perspective.


gawp said...

Yes, we tried that. Works great; now my wife is expectorating.

badoom boom.

Kamel said...

That comment made my day.