Pitocin Side Effects

Generic Name: oxytocin

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug oxytocin. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Pitocin.

It is possible that some side effects of Pitocin may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to oxytocin: solution

Along with its needed effects, oxytocin (the active ingredient contained in Pitocin) 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 while taking oxytocin:

  • Confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • difficulty in breathing
  • dizziness
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • headache (continuing or severe)
  • hives
  • pelvic or abdominal pain (severe)
  • skin rash or itching
  • vaginal bleeding (increased or continuing)
  • weakness
  • weight gain (rapid)
Incidence not known
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • blood clotting problem that causes prolonged bleeding
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • cough
  • difficulty swallowing
  • extra heartbeats
  • fainting
  • lightheadedness
  • pounding or rapid pulse
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • severe bleeding after giving birth
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing

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

Symptoms of overdose
  • Restlessness
  • shakiness
  • sleepiness
  • slow to respond
  • slurred speech
  • unconsciousness

Some side effects of oxytocin 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:

  • Nausea
  • vomiting

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

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.

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