Oxytocin Side Effects
Some side effects of oxytocin may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to oxytocin: injectable solution
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking oxytocin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
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).
Less serious side effects of oxytocin may include:
runny nose, sinus pain or irritation;
memory problems; 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.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to oxytocin: compounding powder, injectable solution
Cardiovascular side effects have included hypertension, premature ventricular contractions, sinus tachycardia, and other cardiac arrhythmias. Neonatal bradycardia, premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias have been reported.
Nervous system side effects have included mania-like disturbances and seizures. The seizures may have been related to water intoxication. Neonatal seizures and permanent CNS or brain damage has been reported.
Metabolic side effects have included water intoxication resulting in coma and seizures.
Hypersensitivity side effects have included anaphylactic reactions.
Genitourinary side effects have included pelvic hematoma. Excessive doses have produced pelvic fracture, uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction and rupture.
Hematologic side effects have included postpartum hemorrhage and fatal afibrinogenemia.
Hepatic side effects have included neonatal jaundice.
Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea and vomiting.
Respiratory side effects have included pulmonary edema.
Renal side effects have included decreases in glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow. Doses of 40 milliunits per minute may produce significant decreases in urine output.
Local side effects have included nasal irritation and rhinorrhea.
Ocular side effects have included neonatal retinal hemorrhages.
Psychiatric side effects have included memory impairment and mania in patients on high doses.
General side effects have include low Apgar scores at 5 minutes. Fetal death has been reported.
More oxytocin resources
- oxytocin MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- oxytocin Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- oxytocin Intravenous, Intramuscular Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Oxytocin Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Oxytocin Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Oxytocin Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Pitocin Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Syntocinon Prescribing Information (FDA)
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