oxytocin, Pitocin

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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GENERIC NAME: oxytocin

BRAND NAME: Pitocin

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Oxytocin is a protein produced by the pituitary gland of mammals including man. Pitocin is a man-made version of oxytocin used for stimulating contraction of the uterus. Oxytocin works by increasing the concentration of calcium inside muscle cells that control contraction of the uterus. Increased calcium increases contraction of the uterus. The FDA approved oxytocin in November 1980.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Oxytocin is used for inducing labor, controlling bleeding after child birth, and treatment of incomplete or inevitable abortion.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of oxytocin include:

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Injection: 10 units/ml

STORAGE: Oxytocin should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 25 C (59 F to 77 F).

DOSING: For inducing labor the dose is 0.5 to 1 milliunits/minute given by intravenous injection and increased by 1 to 2 milliunits/minute every 15 to 60 minutes until contraction pattern is close to normal. For controlling bleeding after birth the dose is 10 units by injection at a rate of 20 to 40 milliunits/minute. Inevitable abortion is treated with 10 to 20 milliunits/minute not to exceed 30 units in a 12 hour period.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Severe elevations in blood pressure may occur if combined with vasoconstrictors used for anesthesia.

PREGNANCY: Oxytocin should not be used during pregnancy unless for inducing labor or abortion.

NURSING MOTHERS: Oxytocin may be secreted in breast milk. Mothers should not nurse for at least one day after stopping oxytocin.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2015

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