Drugs Home > Oxytocin

Oxytocin is given to stimulate uterine contractions in various situations, such as to induce labor or empty the womb for an elective abortion. This prescription drug comes as a liquid that is injected using an intravenous (IV) infusion or an injection into a muscle. Although most women tolerate the medication fairly well, side effects are possible and can include vomiting, excessive bleeding, and an irregular heart rhythm.

What Is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin (Pitocin®) is a prescription medication used to cause or improve contractions of the uterus in various situations. It is a synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone found naturally in the body that plays a major role in childbirth. This medication is approved for the following uses:
 
  • Induce labor in women for whom this is medically necessary
 
  • Improve contractions when the uterus is not contracting sufficiently during labor
 
  • Help empty the womb (the uterus) when a woman has a missed miscarriage (when the baby has died in the womb) or for an elective abortion
 
  • Cause uterine contractions in the third stage of labor (the period after the baby is born until the placenta is delivered)
 
 
Oxytocin was originally available as a nasal spray (Syntocinon®). However, the manufacturer removed this medication from the market in 1995.
 
(Click What Is Oxytocin Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation
Advertisement


Topics & Medications

Quicklinks

Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2018 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.