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Causes or strengthens labor contractions during childbirth, and helps to control bleeding after childbirth. Also used to induce an abortion.

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Results: 1 to 20 of 121

Dose and duration of oxytocin to prevent postpartum hemorrhage: a review

OBJECTIVE: Oxytocin, the most commonly used uterotonic agent in the United States to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, has no established standard dose. The aim of this review is to present data on oxytocin dosing for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

Epidural analgesia associated with low-dose oxytocin augmentation increases cesarean births: a critical look at the external validity of randomized trials

OBJECTIVE: Randomized controlled trials suggest epidural analgesia (EA) does not increase the frequency of cesarean births compared with opioid analgesia. We analyzed trials comparing EA with opioid analgesia to determine their external validity in contemporary North American practice.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2006

Prophylactic ergometrine‐oxytocin versus oxytocin for the third stage of labour

Ergometrine‐oxytocin (Syntometrine®) is more effective than oxytocin (Syntocinon®) in reducing blood loss during the delivery of the placenta, but has more side‐effects.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

High-dose vs low-dose oxytocin for labor augmentation: a systematic review

The authors concluded that high-dose oxytocin for labour augmentation was associated with a decrease in caesarean section, shortened labour and a small increase in spontaneous vaginal delivery. As acknowledged by the authors, there were some issues over the quality of the included studies. High levels of variability across studies for some outcomes should be borne in mind.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2010

Oxytocin and autism: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is a systematic review of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of oxytocin interventions in autism, made from January 1990 to September 2013.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

Effect of misoprostol versus oxytocin during caesarean section: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: The efficacy of misoprostol versus oxytocin for reducing blood loss during caesarean section remains unclear.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

Intramuscular versus intravenous oxytocin for reducing blood loss after vaginal birth

Oxytocin given to a woman during or immediately after the birth of her baby (prophylactically) is effective in reducing excessive bleeding after vaginal birth. There is no reliable research to show whether giving the oxytocin into a muscle or vein makes any difference to the effectiveness of the oxytocin or the health of the mother and baby.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

The effect of early oxytocin augmentation in labor: a meta-analysis

The authors concluded that early oxytocin augmentation of labour was associated with an increase in spontaneous vaginal delivery. Further research was needed to obtain more robust conclusions. This was a generally well-conducted review. The authors' cautious conclusions reflected the evidence, but the small number of trials of uncertain quality should be borne in mind when interpreting the findings.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

Amniotomy plus intravenous oxytocin for induction of labour

Intravenous oxytocin and amniotomy compares well with other forms used in the third trimester (full term) to bring on labour.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Oxytocin for induction of labour

Sometimes it is necessary to bring on labour artificially, because of safety concerns either for the pregnant woman or her baby. Oxytocin is the most common drug used to induce labour and has been used either alone, with other drugs or after artificial rupture of the membranes. In this review we looked at the use of oxytocin alone for inducing labour. The review included 61 studies with more than12,000 women. Overall, oxytocin seems to be a safe method of inducing labour. Compared to waiting to see whether labour starts naturally (expectant management), giving oxytocin led to more women having their babies within 24 hours, but more women needed an epidural for pain relief. Most of the studies recruited women with ruptured membranes and the number of babies with an infection was lower with oxytocin compared with expectant management.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Oxytocin Antagonists for suppressing preterm birth after an episode of preterm labour

Preterm labour is indicated by regular contractions of the uterus and changes in the cervix (the opening of the womb) before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labour and birth may be associated with illness or death of the baby, and often place a substantial emotional burden on families. Preterm birth may also result in childhood disability. Even a short‐term prolongation of pregnancy after the onset of threatened or actual preterm labour can allow the administration of corticosteroids to the mother to hasten fetal lung maturation and transfer of the mother to a centre with neonatal intensive care facilities. A range of drugs (tocolytic) are used to suppress labour. The oxytocin antagonist atosiban is one of these. Once the episode of threatened preterm labour settles, maintenance treatment with a tocolytic can then be used to try to prevent any reoccurrence. This has to be balanced against potential adverse outcomes such as intrauterine infection, fetal death, an increase in severe disability for survivors, and side‐effects of the drugs.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Early amniotomy and early oxytocin for delay in first stage spontaneous labour compared with routine care

Caesarean section rates have increased substantially since the early 1970s; many women having their first babies are older and this may contribute to ineffective or difficult labour, most often because of inadequate uterine action (dystocia). The Active Management of Labour is a clinical protocol that includes early intervention with amniotomy and oxytocin to increase the frequency and intensity of uterine contractions (augmentation) when the progress of labour is delayed. Continued ineffective labour (‘cervical arrest’) can result in the decision to undertake a caesarean section. Early intervention also has risks that include uterine hyperstimulation and fetal heart rate abnormalities.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

The effect/use of the drug oxytocin as a treatment for slow progress in labour

Slow progress in the first stage of spontaneous labour may be caused by weak contractions of the womb. Doctors and midwives commonly give a drug called oxytocin with the aim of strengthening contractions and speeding up labour to avoid harm to both the mother and the newborn infant. The belief is that managing the labour in this way will enable progression to a normal vaginal delivery and reduce the need for caesarean section. However, others have been fearful that it has no effect on the type of delivery a woman might have and in other ways may do more harm than good. This review of eight studies, involving 1338 low‐risk women in the first stage of spontaneous labour at term, showed that oxytocin did not reduce the need for caesarean sections. Neither did it reduce the need for forceps deliveries or increase the number of normal deliveries when compared with no treatment or delayed oxytocin treatment. Oxytocin seemed to shorten labour by nearly two hours on average. The uptake of epidurals was no different. It does not seem to cause harm to the mother or baby, but the sample size was too small to determine if its use has an effect on the death rates of babies. The decision whether to undergo this treatment is one that can reasonably be left to women to decide in the context of a reduction in the length of labour. The included trials used different doses of oxytocin, and different criteria for starting treatment in the delayed oxytocin arm.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Oxytocin for reducing operative births in women with epidurals in labour

The rate of operative births (caesarean sections, forceps and vacuum extraction) continues to rise throughout the world. All three types of delivery are associated with significant complications for both the mother and her baby such as traumatic birth injuries, increased blood loss and placental complications in future pregnancies. One of the most common reasons for a woman to require an operative birth is because the labour does not progress adequately. Increasingly, epidurals are used to manage the pain during labour, however, epidurals may also slow the progression of labour. Oxytocin is a hormone that stimulates uterine contractions in labour and is given to women who are slow to progress in labour. By giving oxytocin to all women with epidurals during labour, the rate of operative deliveries, and the associated complications, could be reduced.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Oxytocin in high versus low doses for augmentation of delayed labour

Women have different lengths of labour, with first labours lasting on average eight hours (and unlikely to last more than 18 hours) and second and subsequent labours lasting an average of five hours and unlikely to last more than 12 hours. Assessment of progress in labour takes into account not just cervical dilatation, but also descent and rotation of the fetal head and the strength, duration and frequency of contractions. Some evidence suggests that up to one‐third of women in their first labour experience delay. They are often given a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin  to increase uterine contractions and shorten labour. Surprisingly for such a routine treatment, the ideal dose at which it should be given is not known, although some comparisons suggest that higher‐dose regimens of oxytocin could shorten labour and reduce the chance of caesarean section with an increase in the numbers of women having a spontaneous vaginal birth compared with lower‐dose regimens. However, there are potentially harmful side effects as oxytocin may cause the uterus to contract too quickly, and the baby to become distressed. Clinicians attempt to mitigate these side effects by adjusting the dose of oxytocin with the contractions to reduce the chances of the baby being distressed in labour.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

High‐dose versus low‐dose oxytocin infusion regimens for induction of labour

Some women do not begin labour spontaneously and may need assistance. This assistance, known as induction of labour, involves the use of an intervention to artificially commence uterine contractions for the mother. Oxytocin is a drug that is commonly given to women for induction of labour; however the most suitable dose to enable birth to occur safely for the mother and her baby, within a reasonable timeframe, is not known.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Prophylactic oxytocin for the third stage of labour

Prophylactic oxytocin at any dose used routinely after birth can reduce blood loss with fewer side effects than ergot alkaloids.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Oxytocin receptor antagonists for inhibiting preterm labour

Tocolytic drugs suppress preterm labour and have the potential to postpone preterm birth long enough to, hopefully, improve infant outcome. This may be by allowing normal growth and maturation of the baby, or by allowing time for administration of magnesium sulphate to reduce risk of cerebral palsy and corticosteroids to help the baby's lungs and other organs to mature. They may also provide the opportunity, if necessary, for the mother to be transferred to a hospital that has facilities to provide neonatal intensive care. However, prolonging pregnancy may instead have adverse outcomes for the baby and so it is important to assess infant outcomes alongside duration of pregnancy. Oxytocin receptor antagonists (ORAs) are a group of tocolytic drugs, and we undertook this review to see if ORAs prolonged pregnancy and improved outcomes for infants compared with no treatment or with other tocolytic drugs.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Are hygroscopic dilators better than vaginal prostaglandins for induction of labour? A systematic review

The authors concluded that when hygroscopic dilators were compared with vaginal prostaglandins for induction of labour, rates of vaginal delivery and emergency caesarean section (due to foetal heart rate change) did not differ significantly. However, dilators may have increased maternal and neonatal morbidity. Due to methodological weaknesses, notably failure to assess study validity, these conclusions require cautious interpretation.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2008

How does the pituitary gland work?

The pituitary gland (hypophysis) controls important body functions and the hormonal system. It is a protrusion at the base of the brain and about the size of a pea or cherry, which is why it is called “hypophysis” (Greek for “growth attached below”). The gland lies well protected in a small cavity of the cranial bones, level with the nose, and in the middle of the head.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: April 26, 2011

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