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Overdosage with oxytocin depends essentially on uterine hyperactivity whether or not due to hypersensitivity to this agent. Hyperstimulation with strong (hypertonic) or prolonged (tetanic) contractions, or a resting tone of 15 to 20 mmHg or more between contractions can lead to tumultuous labor, uterine rupture, cervical and vaginal lacerations, postpartum hemorrhage, uteroplacental hypoperfusion, and variable deceleration of fetal heart, fetal hypoxia, hypercapnia, perinatal hepatic necrosis or death. Water intoxication with convulsions, which is caused by the inherent antidiuretic effect of oxytocin, is a serious complication that may occur if large doses (40 to 50 milliunits/minute) are infused for long periods. Management consists of immediate discontinuation of oxytocin and symptomatic and supportive therapy.
Antepartum use of Pitocin is contraindicated in any of the following circumstances:
- Where there is significant cephalopelvic disproportion;
- In unfavorable fetal positions or presentations, such as transverse lies, which are undeliverable without conversion prior to delivery;
- In obstetrical emergencies where the benefit-to-risk ratio for either the fetus or the mother favors surgical intervention;
- In fetal distress where delivery is not imminent;
- Where adequate uterine activity fails to achieve satisfactory progress;
- Where the uterus is already hyperactive or hypertonic;
- In cases where vaginal delivery is contraindicated, such as invasive cervical carcinoma, active herpes genitalis, total placenta previa, vasa previa, and cord presentation or prolapse of the cord;
- In patients with hypersensitivity to the drug.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/20/2014
Additional Pitocin Information
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