Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is Pitocin the same as Oxytocin?

Now, let me just preface this by saying that for all medical interventions during labor, there are definite times when their use is necessary; life saving, even. But we all know that labor induction for convenience is a VERY common practice in our country. Just like any OTC medication or major medical procedure, whether it's tylenol or a Cesarean birth; there are risks. I didn't fully realize the risk involved until I read this blog post outlining how the body uses synthetic Oxytocin by Nurturing Heart Birth Services:


What really stuck out to me was the information about the perservative used in the drug. Chlorobutanol. This drug has a really long half-life (10 days), meaning it hangs out in a woman's (and crosses the placenta to the fetus) body for up weeks. Same goes for the baby. The more often the Pitocin is administered, the more Chlorobutanol builds up in the mother and infant's body. Ick.

Also, the FDA and ACOG both have approved Pitocin for use ONLY for an EMERGENCY induction. In researching Pitocin on the FDA's website, I came across this contraindication:

"IMPORTANT NOTICE
Elective induction of labor is defined as
the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual
who has no medical indications
for induction. Since the available data
are inadequate to evaluate the benefitsto-
risks considerations, Pitocin is not
indicated for elective induction of labor."

This is taken straight from the package insert from the makers of Pitocin. Read the entire insert at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/018261s028lbl.pdf

My favorite line from the original blog post that I full heartly agree with before using any drug is, "Treat the cause of the stalled labor, not just the uterus, and give this mom and baby ample time to both start and complete this process."