What is oxytocin used for?
Oxytocin is a uterine stimulant. It works by causing uterine contractions by changing calcium concentrations in the uterine muscle cells.
Oxytocin is commonly used for inducing labor in women with Rh problems, diabetes, preeclampsia.
It is also used to help abort the fetus in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage, produce contractions during the third stage of labor, and control bleeding after childbirth.
How should I take oxytocin?
Oxytocin is usually administered as an infusion at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic.
If oxytocin contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use oxytocin.
How do I store oxytocin?
Oxytocin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using oxytocin at home, store oxytocin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using oxytocin?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of oxytocin or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
- Your birth canal is too small compared with the fetus’s head.
- The fetus is in a difficult position within the womb or is in distress and delivery is not progressing.
- You have other complications that require medical intervention for birth.
- You have bacteria in the blood.
- You cannot have a child through vaginal delivery because of certain conditions (e.g., genital herpes, cervical cancer).
Tell your doctor or health care provider immediately if you notice difficulty breathing, rash, continued bleeding, or changes in heart rate.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using oxytocin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking oxytocin. Oxytocin is pregnancy risk category X, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from oxytocin?
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
- More intense or abrupt contractions of the uterus
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
- Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue)
- Blood clotting problems
- Changes in heart rate
- Heavy or continued bleeding after childbirth
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pooling of blood in the pelvis
- Ruptured uterus
With fetus, some side effects may include bleeding in the eye; irregular heartbeat; seizures; slow heartbeat.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with oxytocin?
Oxytocin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Droxidopa may interact with this drug because its actions and side effects may be increased by oxytocin, possibly resulting in high blood pressure.
Does food or alcohol interact with oxytocin?
Oxytocin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with oxytocin?
Oxytocin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
These health conditions are:
- A cesarean section
- A history of difficult labor or uterine surgery
- Labor complications
- Traumatic delivery
- Severe vaginal bleeding
- Placenta previa (abnormal placement of the placenta in the uterus)
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using oxytocin.
What is the dose of oxytocin for an adult?
The recommended dose is 10 unit IM after delivery of placenta.
Add 10-40 units; not to exceed 40 units; to 1000 mL of nonhydrating IV solution and infuse at necessary rate to control uterine atony.
The recommended dose is 0.5-1 mUnit/min IV, titrate 1-2 mUnit/min q15-60min until contraction pattern reached that is similar to normal labor (usually 6 mUnits/min); may decrease dose after desired frequency of contraction reached and labor has progressed to 5-6 cm dilation.
Incomplete or Inevitable Abortion
The recommended dose is 10-20 mUnit/min; not to exceed 30 units/12 hr.
What is the dose of oxytocin for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is oxytocin available?
Oxytocin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Oxytocin injectable solution 10 units/mL
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of oxytocin, contact your doctor right away.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Oxytoxin. https://www.drugs.com/cdi/oxytocin.html. Accessed December 23, 2016
Oxytocin (Rx). http://reference.medscape.com/drug/pitocin-oxytocin-343132#0. Accessed December 23, 2016.
Review Date: May 23, 2017 | Last Modified: May 23, 2017