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Pronunciation: ox-i-TOE-sin
Generic Name: Oxytocin
Brand Name: Pitocin

Pitocin is used for:

Inducing labor in women with Rh problems, diabetes, preeclampsia, or when it is in the best interest of the mother or fetus. It is also used to help abort the fetus in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage, produce contractions during the third stage of labor, and control bleeding after childbirth.

Pitocin is a uterine stimulant. It works by causing uterine contractions by changing calcium concentrations in the uterine muscle cells.

Do NOT use Pitocin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Pitocin
  • your birth canal is too small compared with the fetus's head
  • the fetus is in a difficult position within the womb or is in distress and delivery is not progressing
  • you have other complications that require medical intervention for birth
  • you have bacteria in the blood
  • you cannot have a child through vaginal delivery because of certain conditions (eg, genital herpes, cervical cancer)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Pitocin:

Some medical conditions may interact with Pitocin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are having a cesarean section or have a history of difficult labor or uterine surgery
  • if you are having labor complications, traumatic delivery, severe vaginal bleeding, or placenta previa (abnormal placement of the placenta in the uterus)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Pitocin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Droxidopa because its actions and side effects may be increased by Pitocin, possibly resulting in high blood pressure

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Pitocin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Pitocin:

Use Pitocin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Pitocin is usually administered as an infusion at you doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • If Pitocin contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Pitocin, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Pitocin.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or health care provider immediately if you notice difficulty breathing, rash, continued bleeding, or changes in heart rate.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Pitocin, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Pitocin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Nausea; vomiting; more intense or abrupt contractions of the uterus.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blood clotting problems; changes in heart rate; heavy or continued bleeding after childbirth; irregular heartbeat; pooling of blood in the pelvis; ruptured uterus.

Fetus: Bleeding in the eye; irregular heartbeat; seizures; slow heartbeat.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

See also: Pitocin side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Pitocin may cause water intoxication with seizures if given in higher doses than necessary.

Proper storage of Pitocin:

Pitocin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Pitocin at home, store Pitocin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Pitocin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pitocin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Pitocin. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: February 1, 2012
Database Edition
Copyright 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

More Pitocin resources

  • Pitocin Side Effects (in more detail)
  • Pitocin Use in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
  • Pitocin Drug Interactions
  • Pitocin Support Group
  • 0 Reviews for Pitocin - Add your own review/rating
  • Pitocin Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Pitocin Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
  • Pitocin Monograph (AHFS DI)
  • Pitocin Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Oxytocin Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Oxytocin Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Syntocinon Prescribing Information (FDA)

Compare Pitocin with other medications

  • Abortion
  • Labor Induction
  • Postpartum Bleeding

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