Pitocin

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 10/12/2021
Pitocin Side Effects Center

What Is Pitocin?

Pitocin (oxytocin injection) is a natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract used to induce labor, strengthen labor contractions during childbirth, control bleeding after childbirth, or to induce an abortion.

What Are Side Effects of Pitocin?

Common side effects of Pitocin include:

  • redness or irritation at the injection site,
  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • cramping,
  • stomach pain,
  • more intense or more frequent contractions (this is an expected effect of oxytocin),
  • runny nose,
  • sinus pain or irritation, or
  • memory problems.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of Pitocin including:

  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • excessive bleeding long after childbirth;
  • headache,
  • confusion,
  • slurred speech,
  • hallucinations,
  • severe vomiting,
  • severe weakness,
  • muscle cramps,
  • loss of coordination,
  • feeling unsteady,
  • seizure (convulsions),
  • fainting,
  • shallow breathing or breathing that stops; or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Dosage for Pitocin

Pitocin is administered under a physician's supervision. The initial dose of Pitocin 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.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Pitocin?

Pitocin may interact with drugs used in anesthesia, prochlorperazine injection, or warfarin. Tell your doctor all medications you use.

Pitocin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pitocin should be used during pregnancy only if prescribed. There are no known indications for use of this medication in the first 3 months of pregnancy other than in relation to spontaneous or induced abortion. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Pitocin (oxytocin injection, USP) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

QUESTION

The first sign of pregnancy is most often: See Answer
Pitocin Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have:

  • a fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • excessive bleeding long after childbirth;
  • severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears; or
  • confusion, severe weakness, feeling unsteady.

Oxytocin may cause serious or life-threatening side effects in the newborn baby, including:

  • slow heartbeats or other abnormal heart rate;
  • jaundice (a yellow appearance of the baby's skin);
  • a seizure;
  • eye problems; or
  • problems with breathing, muscle tone, and other signs of health.

Talk with your doctor about the risks of using oxytocin. In most cases, the benefits of inducing labor with oxytocin will outweigh the risks to the baby.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting; or
  • more intense or more frequent contractions (this is an expected effect of oxytocin).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Pitocin (Oxytocin Injection)

SLIDESHOW

13 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy See Slideshow
Pitocin Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the mother:

Anaphylactic reaction Premature ventricular contractions
Postpartum hemorrhage Pelvic hematoma
Cardiac arrhythmia Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Fatal afibrinogenemia Hypertensive episodes
Nausea Rupture of the uterus
Vomiting

Excessive dosage or hypersensitivity to the drug may result in uterine hypertonicity, spasm, titanic contraction, or rupture of the uterus.

The possibility of increased blood loss and afibrinogenemia should be kept in mind when administering the drug.

Severe water intoxication with convulsions and coma has occurred, associated with a slow oxytocin infusion over a 24-hour period. Maternal death due to oxytocin-induced water intoxication has been reported.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the fetus or neonate:

Due to induced uterine motility: Due to use of oxytocin in the mother:
Bradycardia Low Apgar scores at five minutes
Premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias Neonatal jaundice
Permanent CNS or brain damage Neonatal retinal hemorrhage
Fetal death
Neonatal seizures have been reported with the use of Pitocin.

For medical advice about adverse reactions contact your medical professional. To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Par Pharmaceutical at 1-800-828-9393 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Severe hypertension has been reported when oxytocin was given three to four hours following prophylactic administration of a vasoconstrictor in conjunction with caudal block anesthesia. Cyclopropane anesthesia may modify oxytocin's cardiovascular effects, so as to produce unexpected results such as hypotension. Maternal sinus bradycardia with abnormal atrioventricular rhythms has also been noted when oxytocin was used concomitantly with cyclopropane anesthesia.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Pitocin (Oxytocin Injection)

© Pitocin Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Pitocin Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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