Pitocin Side Effects

Women who receive Pitocin may experience an abnormal heartbeat, vomiting, or excessive bleeding after childbirth. Because this drug is sometimes used immediately before childbirth, it can also cause problems in the newborn. Possible Pitocin side effects in the newborn include a low heart rate, seizures, or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.

An Introduction to Pitocin Side Effects

Just like any medicine, Pitocin® (oxytocin) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who receives the drug will have problems. In fact, most women tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Pitocin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Pitocin

For many medications, the prescribing information carefully explains the exact percentage of side effects that were seen in clinical trials. However, the prescribing information for almost all older medications, including Pitocin, includes only general information on possible side effects, without exact percentages.
Some of the possible Pitocin side effects may include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Allergic reactions
  • Excessive bleeding after childbirth
  • An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Pelvic redness, pain, bruising, or swelling
  • Bleeding events, including bleeding in the brain
  • High blood pressure
  • A tear in the wall of the uterus (uterine rupture).
Side effects reported in the newborn have included:
  • A low heart rate
  • An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Bleeding in the blood vessels of the retina (the tissue that lines the back of the eye).
Pregnancy and Pain

Pitocin Drug Information

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