Oxytocin Injection

pronounced as (ox i toe' sin)

Brand Name(s): Pitocin®, also available generically

Why is this medicine prescribed?

Oxytocin injection is used to begin or improve contractions during labor. Oxytocin also is used to reduce bleeding after childbirth. It also may be used along with other medications or procedures to end a pregnancy. Oxytocin is in a class of medications called oxytocic hormones. It works by stimulating uterine contractions.

Are there other uses for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Oxytocin comes as a solution (liquid) to be given intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into the muscle) by a doctor or healthcare provider in a hospital or clinic. If oxytocin injection is given to induce labor or to increase contractions, it is usually given intravenously with medical supervision in a hospital.

Your doctor may adjust your dose of oxytocin injection during your treatment, depending on your contraction pattern and on the side effects that you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with oxytocin injection.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving oxytocin injection,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to oxytocin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in oxytocin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor if you have genital herpes (a herpes virus infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to, time), placenta previa (placenta blocks the neck of the uterus) or other abnormal position of the fetus or umbilical cord, small pelvic structure cancer of the cervix, or toxemia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Your doctor will probably not give you oxytocin injection.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had premature delivery, a Cesarean section (C-section), or any other uterine or cervical surgery.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Follow your doctor's instructions about what to eat and drink while you are receiving this medication.

What should I do in case of overdose?

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help . If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • strong or prolonged uterine contractions
  • bleeding
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness

What side effects can this medicine cause?

Oxytocin injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • fast heartbeat
  • unusual bleeding

Oxytocin injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What other information should I know?

Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to oxytocin injection.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about oxytocin injection.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

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