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October 1981

Fetal Alcohol Effects and Maternal Cough Syrup Abuse

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Chicago

Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(10):968. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130340072023

Unrecognized in past reports of the fetal alcohol syndrome1,2 is the fact that many women ingest alcohol in forms other than the usual alcoholic beverage. We describe an infant with fetal alcohol effects born to a mother who abused cough syrup.

Report of a Case.—The patient was born to a 24-year-old, gravida 3, para 1, abortus 1 woman who consumed four to seven bottles (480 to 840 mL) of a cough syrup (Ambenyl-D Decongestant Cough Fomula) daily throughout the pregnancy. The expectant mother specifically denied consumption of alcoholic beverages. From the time of enrollment in the Perinatal Addiction Project of Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry and Prentice Women's Hospital, Chicago, the mother received individual psychotherapy and intensive prenatal care. Urine specimens were screened daily and tests were negative for all drugs (opiates, barbiturates, amphetamines) except codeine on one occasion. Cough syrup consumption was monitored by the patient's therapist, and,

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