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Generic name: oxytocin [ OX-i-TOE-sin ]
Brand names: Pitocin, Syntocinon
Dosage forms: injectable solution (10 units/1000 mL-0.9%; 10 units/1000 mL-D5%; 10 units/1000 mL-D5% with 0.45% NaCl; 10 units/1000 mL-D5%LR; 10 units/1000 mL-LR; 10 units/500 mL-0.9%; 10 units/500 mL-5%; 10 units/500 mL-D5%LR; 10 units/500 mL-LR; 10 units/mL; 15 units/250 mL-D5%; 15 units/250 mL-D5% with 0.225% NaCl; 15 units/250 mL-LR; 15 units/250 mL-NaCl 0.9%; 20 units/1000 mL-0.9%; 20 units/1000 mL-D5%; 20 units/1000 mL-D5% with 0.45% NaCl; 20 units/1000 mL-D5% with 0.9% NaCl; 20 units/1000 mL-D5%LR; 20 units/1000 mL-LR; 20 units/500 mL-0.9%; 20 units/500 mL-5%; 20 units/500 mL-D5%LR; 20 units/500 mL-LR; 30 units/1000 mL-0.9%; 30 units/1000 mL-D5%; 30 units/1000 mL-D5% with 0.45% NaCl; 30 units/1000 mL-D5%LR; 30 units/1000 mL-LR; 30 units/500 mL-5%; 30 units/500 mL-D5% with 0.9% NaCl; 30 units/500 mL-D5%LR; 30 units/500 mL-LR; 30 units/500 mL-NaCl 0.45%; 40 units/1000 mL-0.9%; 40 units/1000 mL-D5%; 40 units/1000 mL-LR; 40 units/500 mL-0.9%; 5 units/500 mL-LR; 60 units/1000 mL-NaCl 0.9%), intravenous solution (15 units/250 mL-NaCl 0.9%; 20 units/1000 mL-LR; 30 units/500 mL-NaCl 0.9%)
Drug class: Uterotonic agents

Medically reviewed by on Nov 13, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that is used to induce labor or strengthen uterine contractions, or to control bleeding after childbirth.

Oxytocin is also used to stimulate uterine contractions in a woman with an incomplete or threatened miscarriage.

Oxytocin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Use only as directed. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with oxytocin if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using oxytocin.

How is oxytocin given?

Oxytocin is injected into a muscle, or given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Your contractions and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving oxytocin. This will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

During labor, your baby's heart rate will also be watched with a fetal heart monitor to evaluate any effects of oxytocin on the baby.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Oxytocin is used when needed and does not have a daily dose. Call your doctor if the medicine is not effective.

What happens if I overdose?

Since oxytocin is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, you will be constantly monitored to make sure you are receiving the correct dose.

What should I avoid while receiving oxytocin?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Oxytocin side effects

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

Oxytocin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor 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 problems.

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 of oxytocin 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.

What other drugs will affect oxytocin?

Other drugs may affect oxytocin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.