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All about: Pitocin

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Generic Name: oxytocin (ox e TOW sin)
Brand Names: Pitocin, Syntocinon

What is Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Oxytocin is a natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract.

Oxytocin is used to induce labor, strengthen labor contractions during childbirth, control bleeding after childbirth, or to induce an abortion.

Oxytocin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Oxytocin should be administered as an injection into a muscle or intravenously by a healthcare provider. It should be administered in a clinical setting where a healthcare provider can monitor uterine contractions and other vital signs (blood pressure, heart rates) and where an emergency situation can be handled properly.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Do not take oxytocin without first talking to your doctor if you
  • have or have had cervical cancer;

  • have an allergy to oxytocin, other medications, dyes, foods, or preservatives;

  • have eclampsia;
  • have herpes;

  • have had more than 7 pregnancies;

  • are experiencing premature labor;

  • have had a caesarean section (C-section);

  • have had any surgery on the cervix or uterus;

  • have a prolapsed uterus; or

  • have a breech, placenta previa or any other issues with the fetus or umbilical cord.

You may not be able to use oxytocin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Tell your doctor about all prescription or over-the-counter medicines including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products that your are taking.

Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or caffeine drinks regularly, if you are a smoker or if you use illegal drugs. These factors can affect the way oxytocin works in your body.

There are no known indications for the use of oxytocin in the first or second trimester of pregnancy other than in relation to spontaneous or induced abortion. Based on the wide experience with this drug and its properties, it would not be expected to present a risk of harm to the baby when used as indicated under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional. Ask your doctor to answer any questions you have about the use of oxytocin and your pregnancy. Do not use oxytocin without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Oxytocin should be administered as an injection into a muscle or intravenously by a healthcare provider. It should be administered in a clinical setting where a healthcare provider can monitor uterine contractions and other vital signs (blood pressure, heart rates) and where an emergency situation can be handled properly.

Your healthcare provider will store oxytocin as directed by the manufacturer.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since the medication will be administered by a healthcare provider, missing a dose should not occur.

What happens if I overdose?

If an overdose of oxytocin is suspected, seek emergency medical attention or contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Oxytocin should be administered in a clinical setting where a healthcare provider can monitor uterine contractions and other vital signs (blood pressure, heart rates) and where an emergency situation can be handled immediately.

What should I avoid while using Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or caffeine drinks regularly, if you are a smoker or if you use illegal drugs. These factors can affect the way oxytocin works in your body.

Pitocin (oxytocin) side effects

Side effects with oxytocin are not common. Serious side effects include:
  • an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of the throat; hives; swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; rash; or fainting);

  • difficulty urinating;

  • chest pain or irregular heart beat;

  • difficulty breathing;

  • confusion;

  • sudden weight gain or excessive swelling;

  • severe headache;

  • rash;

  • excessive vaginal bleeding; or

  • seizures.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience

  • redness or irritation at the injection site;

  • loss of appetite; or

  • nausea or vomiting.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Pitocin (oxytocin)?

Other drugs can interact with oxytocin resulting in dangerous side effects and/or decreased effectiveness. Do not take any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, without first talking to your doctor during treatment with oxytocin.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about oxytocin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Oxytocin is available generically and under the brand names Pitocin and Syntocinon. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about this medication.

  • 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.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01. Revision Date: 5/26/04 4:39:19 PM.

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