How Does Pitocin Work?

In certain situations, Pitocin® (oxytocin) can help cause or improve uterine contractions in women. For example, this drug can be used to help induce labor or empty the contents of pregnancy for an elective abortion. But how does Pitocin work?
 
Pitocin is a synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone that is found naturally in the body. It works by attaching to oxytocin receptors on the wall of the uterus, causing the uterus to contract by increasing the calcium concentration in the muscle cells.
 
This drug is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion or as an injection into a muscle (intramuscular injection). Because every woman will respond differently to Pitocin, the dosage is highly individualized.
 
(For more details on how this drug works, click Pitocin. This Web page features an overview of Pitocin, with a description of specific uses for this drug, possible side effects, and safety precautions to discuss with your healthcare provider before receiving it.)
Pregnancy and Pain
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