Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Pitocin

Descriptions


Oxytocin is a hormone used to help start or continue labor and to control bleeding after delivery. It is also sometimes used to help milk secretion in breast-feeding.

Oxytocin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

In general, oxytocin should not be used to start labor unless there are specific medical reasons. Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor before receiving this medicine.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals removed Syntocinon® nasal spray from the market in March 1995.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, oxytocin is used in certain patients for the following:

  • Testing the ability of the placenta to support a pregnancy.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Solution

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of oxytocin in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of oxytocin in geriatric patients.

Pregnancy

Information about this oxytocin-intravenous-route-intramuscular-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breastfeeding

Studies suggest that this medication may alter milk production or composition. If an alternative to this medication is not prescribed, you should monitor the infant for side effects and adequate milk intake.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Bleeding problems (e.g., subarachnoid hemorrhage) or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)—May make these conditions worse.
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion or
  • Cervical cancer or
  • Fetal distress or
  • Grand multiparity (giving birth more than five times) or
  • Major surgery on the cervix or uterus (e.g., caesarean delivery), history of or
  • Overdistended uterus or
  • Premature fetus or
  • Problems with uterine contraction (e.g., uterine atony, strong uterine contractions) or
  • Toxemia, severe or
  • Unfavorable fetal position (e.g., transverse lies) or
  • Other conditions that may require caesarean delivery (e.g., cord prolapse, total placenta previa, vasa previa, or during an emergency)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of this medicine from the body.

Proper Use

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins or as a shot into one of your muscles.

Precautions

Oxytocin can be very useful for helping labor. However, there are certain risks with using it. Oxytocin causes contractions of the uterus. In women who are unusually sensitive to its effects, these contractions may become too strong. In rare cases, this may lead to tearing of the uterus. Also, if contractions are too strong, the supply of blood and oxygen to the fetus may be decreased.

Oxytocin may cause jaundice and eye problems such as retinal hemorrhage in some newborn infants. If you have concerns about this, ask your doctor.

This medicine may cause a serious condition called water intoxication. Tell your doctor right away if you start having have confusion, drowsiness, headache, or seizures while you are receiving this medicine.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

  1. Confusion
  2. convulsions (seizures)
  3. difficulty in breathing
  4. dizziness
  5. fast or irregular heartbeat
  6. headache (continuing or severe)
  7. hives
  8. pelvic or abdominal pain (severe)
  9. skin rash or itching
  10. vaginal bleeding (increased or continuing)
  11. weakness
  12. weight gain (rapid)

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal pain or cramping
  2. blood clotting problem that causes prolonged bleeding
  3. chest pain or discomfort
  4. cough
  5. difficulty swallowing
  6. extra heartbeats
  7. fainting
  8. lightheadedness
  9. pounding or rapid pulse
  10. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  11. severe bleeding after giving birth
  12. shortness of breath
  13. tightness in the chest
  14. unusual tiredness or weakness
  15. wheezing

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

  1. Restlessness
  2. shakiness
  3. sleepiness
  4. slow to respond
  5. slurred speech
  6. unconsciousness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Rare

  1. Nausea
  2. vomiting

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.