Oxytocics are agents which increase the force of uterine contraction.

Property Oxytocin Ergometrine PGF
Class Endogenous (typically synthetic version used) posterior pituitary hormone Ergot alkaloid Prostaglandin
Uses Augmentation of labour, increase uterine tone (PPH) PPH PPH
Presentation Clear liquid at 5-10 U.ml-1
Route of Administration IV IV, IM Intramyometrial injection, IM
Dosing 1.5-12mU.min-1 250μg IM (IV in emergency via slow push)
Metabolism Oxytocinases in liver and kidney
Mechanism of Action Oxytocin GPCR in the uterus, increase Ca2+ influx. Structurally similar to ADH. Acts on α and 5HT2 receptors on uterine and vascular smooth muscle
Resp Bronchospasm (may be severe) Bronchospasm (severe if IV so this route is contraindicated)
CVS HR, ↓ BP following boluses SVR, ↑ BP (may cause, ↓ HR) coronary vasoconstriction ↑ BP
CNS Headache, nausea, comiting Headache, nausea Nausea, vomiting
Renal ↓ UO due to ADH-like effects with prolonged infusions
GU ↑ Uterine tone (↑ frequency at low dose, tetanic contraction at high dose), foetal distress, lactation ↑ Uterine contraction frequency and tone
Other May be metabolised by oxytocinases in blood products if coadministered on the same line Contraindicated in pre-eclampsia due to HTN


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  3. Smith S, Scarth E, Sasada M. Drugs in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. 4th Ed. Oxford University Press. 2011.
Last updated 2017-09-21

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