Pitocin is prescribed for a variety of reasons that involve causing or improving uterine contractions. Some of the approved uses of this drug include inducing labor, emptying the womb for an elective abortion, and improving efficiency of contractions during labor. Pitocin comes as a liquid that is injected by a healthcare provider. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and excessive bleeding.
Pitocin® (oxytocin) is a prescription medication used to cause or improve contractions of the uterus in various situations. It is a synthetic version of oxytocin, a hormone found naturally in the body that plays a major role in childbirth. This medication is approved for the following uses:
- Induce labor in women who have a medical reason for this
- Improve contractions when the uterus is not contracting sufficiently during labor
- Help empty the womb (the uterus) when a woman has a missed miscarriage (when the baby has died in the womb) or for an elective abortion
- Cause uterine contractions in the third stage of labor (the period after the baby is born until the placenta is delivered)
- Control bleeding after labor and delivery.
Oxytocin, the active ingredient in Pitocin, was originally available as a nasal spray (Syntocinon®). However, the manufacturer removed this product from the market in 1995.
Pitocin is made by JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC.
Pitocin works by attaching to oxytocin receptors on the wall of the uterus. The number of these receptors increases during pregnancy, and is highest in early labor. By binding to the receptors, Pitocin increases the calcium concentration in the uterine muscle cells. This causes the uterus to contract. Every woman will respond differently to Pitocin, depending on how many oxytocin receptors she has. Therefore, the dosage is highly individualized.