About your treatment
Your doctor has ordered oxytocin, a hormone, to stimulate contractions of the uterus and smooth muscle tissue. The drug will be either injected into a large muscle (such as your buttock or hip) or added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter in your vein.
Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland. It is used to help start or strengthen labor and to reduce bleeding after delivery. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how your symptoms respond to the medication.
Before administering oxytocin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to oxytocin or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a premature delivery, herpes infection, eclampsia, cervical cancer, previous uterine surgery, prolapsed uterus, breech position, placenta previa, or other abnormal position of the fetus or umbilical cord.
Administering your medication
Before you administer oxytocin, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your health care provider immediately:
- chest pain or difficulty breathing
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- severe headache
- irritation at the injection site
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Storing your medication
Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
Signs of infection
If you are receiving oxytocin in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible:
¶ These branded products are no longer on the market and only generic alternatives are available.
Last Reviewed - 09/01/2010