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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Pitocin

Generic Name: oxytocin (Pronunciation: ox e TOW sin)

What is oxytocin (Pitocin)?

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

Oxytocin is used to induce labor or strengthen labor contractions during childbirth, and to control bleeding after childbirth. Oxytocin is also used to stimulate uterine contractions in a woman with an incomplete or threatened miscarriage.

Oxytocin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of oxytocin (Pitocin)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • excessive bleeding long after childbirth;
  • headache, confusion, slurred speech, hallucinations, severe vomiting, severe weakness, muscle cramps, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, seizure (convulsions), fainting, shallow breathing or breathing that stops; or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting;
  • runny nose, sinus pain or irritation;
  • memory problems; or
  • more intense or more frequent contractions (this is an expected effect of oxytocin).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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

You should not receive this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to oxytocin.

Before you receive oxytocin, tell your caregivers if you have genital herpes, diabetes, high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder, or if you have ever had cervical cancer, a severe uterine infection, or surgery (including a C-section) on your cervix or uterus. Also tell your caregivers if you have ever had difficult labor because you have a small pelvis, if your pregnancy is less than 37 weeks, or if you have had 5 or more pregnancies.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially cough or cold medicine, medicines that contain caffeine (such as migraine headache medicine), or a stimulant such as ADHD medication.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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