Generic name: oxytocin (ox-i-TOE-sin)
Drug class: Uterotonic agents
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 15, 2020.
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, oxytocin is not indicated for elective induction of labor .Intramuscular route(Solution)
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, oxytocin is not indicated for elective induction of labor .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Pharmacologic Class: Pituitary Hormone, Posterior
Uses for oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone used to help start or continue labor and to control bleeding after delivery. It is also sometimes used to help milk secretion in breast-feeding.
Oxytocin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
In general, oxytocin should not be used to start labor unless there are specific medical reasons. Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor before receiving oxytocin.
Oxytocin is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals removed Syntocinon® nasal spray from the market in March 1995.
Before using oxytocin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For oxytocin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to oxytocin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of oxytocin in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of oxytocin in geriatric patients.
Studies suggest that this medication may alter milk production or composition. If an alternative to this medication is not prescribed, you should monitor the infant for side effects and adequate milk intake.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving oxytocin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using oxytocin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of oxytocin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bleeding problems (e.g., subarachnoid hemorrhage) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)—May make these conditions worse.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion or
- Cervical cancer or
- Fetal distress or
- Grand multiparity (giving birth more than five times) or
- Major surgery on the cervix or uterus (e.g., caesarean delivery), history of or
- Overdistended uterus or
- Premature fetus or
- Problems with uterine contraction (e.g., uterine atony, strong uterine contractions) or
- Toxemia, severe or
- Unfavorable fetal position (e.g., transverse lies) or
- Other conditions that may require caesarean delivery (e.g., cord prolapse, total placenta previa, vasa previa, or during an emergency)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. Effects may be increased because of slower removal of oxytocin from the body.
Proper use of oxytocin
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you oxytocin. Oxytocin is given through a needle placed in one of your veins or as a shot into one of your muscles.
Precautions while using oxytocin
Oxytocin can be very useful for helping labor. However, there are certain risks with using it. Oxytocin causes contractions of the uterus. In women who are unusually sensitive to its effects, these contractions may become too strong. In rare cases, this may lead to tearing of the uterus. Also, if contractions are too strong, the supply of blood and oxygen to the fetus may be decreased.
Oxytocin may cause jaundice and eye problems such as retinal hemorrhage in some newborn infants. If you have concerns about this, ask your doctor.
Oxytocin may cause a serious condition called water intoxication. Tell your doctor right away if you start having have confusion, drowsiness, headache, or seizures while you are receiving oxytocin.
Oxytocin side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine 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:
- convulsions (seizures)
- difficulty in breathing
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- headache (continuing or severe)
- pelvic or abdominal pain (severe)
- skin rash or itching
- vaginal bleeding (increased or continuing)
- weight gain (rapid)
Incidence not known
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- blood clotting problem that causes prolonged bleeding
- chest pain or discomfort
- difficulty swallowing
- extra heartbeats
- 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
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- slow to respond
- slurred speech
Some side effects 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:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about oxytocin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 10 Reviews
- Drug class: uterotonic agents
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.