What is oxytocin-injectable, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for oxytocin-injectable?


Is oxytocin-injectable available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for oxytocin-injectable?


What are the side effects of oxytocin-injectable?

Side effects of oxytocin include:

What is the dosage for oxytocin-injectable?

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.

Is oxytocin-injectable safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

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

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

What else should I know about oxytocin-injectable?

What preparations of oxytocin-injectable are available?

Injection: 10 units/ml

How should I keep oxytocin-injectable stored?

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


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Oxytocin (Pitocin) is an injectable drug used for inducing labor, controlling bleeding after childbirth, and for the treatment of incomplete or inevitable abortion. Side effects, drug interactions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


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