Pitocin Side Effects
Generic name: oxytocin
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 14, 2023.
Note: This document contains side effect information about oxytocin. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Pitocin.
Applies to oxytocin: parenteral injection.
Side effects include:
Adverse effects usually are dose related.
Uterine hyperstimulation and subsequent fetal heart rate deceleration most common. (See Uterine Hyperactivity under General Precautions.)
Maternal nausea, vomiting, sinus bradycardia, premature ventricular complexes; probably related to labor and not the drug.
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, jaundice, retinal hemorrhage, low Apgar scores at 5 minutes.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to oxytocin: compounding powder, injectable solution, intravenous solution.
The more commonly reported adverse effects have included headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, nausea and vomiting.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Tachycardia, bradycardia
Frequency not reported: Premature ventricular contractions, hypertensive episodes, cardiac arrhythmia, bradycardia (neonate), premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias (neonate)
Postmarketing reports: Myocardial ischemia, QTc prolongation, hypotension, flushing[Ref]
Bradycardia and premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias have been reported in the neonate due to induced uterine motility.[Ref]
Permanent CNS or brain damage, and seizures have been reported in the neonate due to induced uterine motility.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Headache
Frequency not reported: Subarachnoid hemorrhage, permanent CNS or brain damage (neonate), neonatal seizures[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Severe water intoxication with convulsions, coma, fatal water intoxication
Postmarketing reports: Maternal hyponatremia, neonatal hyponatremia[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic reaction
Postmarketing reports: Anaphylactic reaction and shock[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Uterine Rupture, pelvic hematoma, postpartum hemorrhage
Postmarketing reports: Uterine hypertonicity, tetanic contractions, rupture of the uterus; fetal distress (neonate), amniotic fluid embolism[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Fatal afibrinogenemia
Postmarketing reports: Disseminated intravascular coagulation[Ref]
Neonatal jaundice has been reported in the neonate due to use of oxytocin (the active ingredient contained in Pitocin) in the mother.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Neonatal jaundice[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting[Ref]
Postmarketing reports: Acute pulmonary edema, asphyxia (neonate)
Frequency not reported: Neonatal retinal hemorrhage[Ref]
Neonatal retinal hemorrhage has been reported in the neonate due to use of oxytocin in the mother.[Ref]
Fetal death has been reported due to induced uterine motility; low Apgar scores at 5 minutes have been reported in the neonate due to oxytocin (the active ingredient contained in Pitocin) use in the mother.
Frequency not reported: Fetal death, low Apgar scores at 5 minutes
Postmarketing reports: Angioedema
More about Pitocin (oxytocin)
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- Drug class: uterotonic agents
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Related treatment guides
1. "Product Information. Syntocinon (oxytocin)." Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation (2001):
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
4. "Product Information. Pitocin (oxytocin)." Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group (2004):
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.