Oxytocin, Injection oks-i-TOH-sin

What are other names for this medicine?

Type of medicine: hormone

Generic and brand names: oxytocin, injection; Pitocin

What is this medicine used for?

This medicine is given by injection (shot) to help start or strengthen labor. It is also used to reduce bleeding after delivery. It may be used for other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

What should my healthcare provider know before I take this medicine?

Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • an allergic reaction to any medicine
  • a cesarean section or other surgery on the cervix or uterus
  • cervical cancer
  • eclampsia
  • genital herpes

Tell the provider if you have given birth several times before.

How do I use it?

When used to start labor, this medicine is given by IV infusion (slow drip through a needle into a large vein). The dosage is slowly increased until your labor is more like normal labor.

To control uterine bleeding after birth of the baby, this medicine may be given by IV or by a shot into a large muscle.

For an abortion or miscarriage, this medicine is given by IV.

What should I watch out for?

This medicine is not usually given during the first 6 months of pregnancy, unless the pregnancy ends early.

Do not start breast-feeding your baby until the day after your last dose of this medicine.

This medicine may stimulate the uterus too much if you are very sensitive to it. Too much stimulation can harm you or the baby. You will be monitored carefully when you receive this medicine.

This medicine may cause your body to retain fluids when you receive it by IV. Talk with your healthcare provider about this.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you have received this medicine.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its needed effects, your medicine may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. You will be carefully monitored by healthcare providers who will see and treat any serious side effects you may have. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away). If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; chest pain or tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Serious side effects in the mother: Irregular heartbeat; severe headache; trouble urinating; heavy vaginal bleeding; seizures.

Serious side effects in the baby (healthcare providers will carefully monitor the baby to prevent serious problems): Irregular or slow heartbeat, permanent brain damage, yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Other: Nausea, vomiting.

What products might interact with this medicine?

When you take this medicine with other medicines, it can change the way this or any of the other medicines work. Nonprescription medicines, vitamins, natural remedies, and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • dinoprostone (Cervidil, Prepidil)
  • ephedra
  • misoprostol (Cytotec)

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.

This advisory includes selected information only and may not include all side effects of this medicine or interactions with other medicines. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information or if you have any questions.

Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

Do not share medicines with other people.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Medication Advisor 2012.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-12-22
Last reviewed: 2010-12-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2012 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.