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Elective induction of labor is defined as the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual who has no medical indications for induction. Since the available data are inadequate to evaluate the benefits-to-risks considerations, Pitocin is not indicated for elective induction of labor.
Pitocin is indicated for the initiation or improvement of uterine contractions, where this is desirable and considered suitable for reasons of fetal or maternal concern, in order to achieve vaginal delivery. It is indicated for (1) induction of labor in patients with a medical indication for the initiation of labor, such as Rh problems, maternal diabetes, preeclampsia at or near term, when delivery is in the best interests of mother and fetus or when membranes are prematurely ruptured and delivery is indicated; (2) stimulation or reinforcement of labor, as in selected cases of uterine inertia; (3) as adjunctive therapy in the management of incomplete or inevitable abortion. In the first trimester, curettage is generally considered primary therapy. In second trimester abortion, oxytocin infusion will often be successful in emptying the uterus. Other means of therapy, however, may be required in such cases.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration whenever solution and container permit.
The dosage of oxytocin is determined by the uterine response and must therefore be individualized and initiated at a very low level. The following dosage information is based upon various regimens and indications in general use.
Induction or Stimulation of Labor
Intravenous infusion (drip method) is the only acceptable method of parenteral administration of Pitocin for the induction or stimulation of labor. Accurate control of the rate of infusion is essential and is best accomplished by an infusion pump. It is convenient to piggyback the Pitocin infusion on a physiologic electrolyte solution, permitting the Pitocin infusion to be stopped abruptly without interrupting the electrolyte infusion. This is done in the following way.
- The standard solution for infusion of Pitocin is prepared by adding 1 mL (containing 10 units of oxytocin) to 1000 mL of 0.9% aqueous sodium chloride or Ringer's lactate. The combined solution containing 10 milliunits (mU) of oxytocin/mL is rotated in the infusion bottle for thorough mixing.
- Establish the infusion with a separate bottle of physiologic electrolyte solution not containing Pitocin.
- Attach (piggyback) the Pitocin-containing bottle with the infusion pump to the infusion line as close to the infusion site as possible.
The initial dose should be 0.5–1 mU/min (equal to 3–6 mL of the dilute oxytocin solution per hour). At 30–60 minute intervals the dose should be gradually increased in increments of 1–2 mU/min until the desired contraction pattern has been established. Once the desired frequency of contractions has been reached and labor has progressed to 5–6 cm dilation, the dose may be reduced by similar increments.
Studies of the concentrations of oxytocin in the maternal plasma during Pitocin infusion have shown that infusion rates up to 6 mU/min give the same oxytocin levels that are found in spontaneous labor. At term, higher infusion rates should be given with great care, and rates exceeding 9–10 mU/min are rarely required. Before term, when the sensitivity of the uterus is lower because of a lower concentration of oxytocin receptors, a higher infusion rate may be required.
- Electronically monitor the uterine activity and the fetal heart rate throughout the infusion of Pitocin. Attention should be given to tonus, amplitude and frequency of contractions, and to the fetal heart rate in relation to uterine contractions. If uterine contractions become too powerful, the infusion can be abruptly stopped, and oxytocic stimulation of the uterine musculature will soon wane (see PRECAUTIONS section).
- Discontinue the infusion of Pitocin immediately in the event of uterine hyperactivity and/or fetal distress. Administer oxygen to the mother, who preferably should be put in a lateral position. The condition of mother and fetus should immediately be evaluated by the responsible physician and appropriate steps taken.
Control of Postpartum Uterine Bleeding
- Intravenous infusion (drip method). If the patient has an intravenous infusion running, 10 to 40 units of oxytocin may be added to the bottle, depending on the amount of electrolyte or dextrose solution remaining (maximum 40 units to 1000 mL). Adjust the infusion rate to sustain uterine contraction and control uterine atony.
- Intramuscular administration. 1 mL (10 units) of Pitocin can be given after the delivery of the placenta.
Treatment of Incomplete, Inevitable, or Elective Abortion
Intravenous infusion of 10 units of Pitocin added to 500 mL of a physiologic saline solution or 5% dextrose-in-water solution may help the uterus contract after a suction or sharp curettage for an incomplete, inevitable, or elective abortion.
Subsequent to intra-amniotic injection of hypertonic saline, prostaglandins, urea, etc., for midtrimester elective abortion, the injection-to-abortion time may be shortened by infusion of Pitocin at the rate of 10 to 20 milliunits (20 to 40 drops) per minute. The total dose should not exceed 30 units in a 12-hour period due to the risk of water intoxication.
Directions for Dispensing
Pharmacy Bulk Package
Not for Direct Infusion: The pharmacy bulk package is for use in a pharmacy admixture service only in a suitable work area, such as a laminar flow hood. The closure should be penetrated only once utilizing an appropriate sterile transfer device, which allows measured distribution of the contents. The transfer device should be inserted into the Pharmacy Bulk Package using aseptic technique.
Contents should be used as soon as possible following initial closure puncture. Discard any unused portion within 24 hours of first entry. Following closure puncture, container should be maintained under labeled storage conditions between 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) under a laminar flow hood until contents are dispensed.
Pitocin (Oxytocin Injection, USP) Synthetic is available as follows:
NDC 42023-130-06 Packages of six 50 mL Pharmacy Bulk Packages, each containing 10 units of oxytocin per mL (total = 500 units of oxytocin per vial).
Store between 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F). See USP Controlled Room Temperature.
1. Seitchik J, Castillo M: Oxytocin augmentation of dysfunctional labor. I. Clinical data. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1982; 144:899–905.
2. Seitchik J, Castillo M: Oxytocin augmentation of dysfunctional labor. II. Multiparous patients. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1983; 145:777–780.
3. Fuchs A, Goeschen K, Husslein P, et al: Oxytocin and the initiation of human parturition. III. Plasma concentrations of oxytocin and 13, 14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin F2a in spontaneous and oxytocin-induced labor at term. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1983; 145:497–502.
4. Seitchik J, Amico J, et al: Oxytocin augmentation of dysfunctional labor. IV. Oxytocin pharmacokinetics. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1984; 150:225–228.
5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: ACOG Technical Bulletin Number 110—November 1987: Induction and augmentation of labor.
Manufactured and Distributed by: JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC, Rochester, MI 48307. Revised: April 2012.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/22/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Pitocin Information
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