Posts Tagged ‘ pitocin ’

Pitocin May Have Negative Effects on Newborns

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The drug Pitocin, which is used to induce labor or keep labor going when it has slowed or stopped, has been found in a new study to have adverse effects on newborn babies.  The study, which was presented this week at the Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, was the first to report a negative effect of the widely-used drug.

The study was based on data collected from 3,000 women who gave birth between 2009 and 2011.  The results showed that women who were given oxytocin (Pitocin is the most common brand name of this type of drug) were more likely to deliver babies who were unexpectedly admitted to the NICU after birth, and that those babies were more likely to remain in the NICU for more than 24 hours.  Babies born from Pitocin-augmented labors were also more likely to score less than 7 on the Apgar test, the standard test that evaluates a newborn’s physical condition at one and five minutes after birth based on appearance (skin coloration), pulse (heart rate), grimace response (medically known as “reflex irritability”), activity and muscle tone, and respiration (breathing rate and effort). An Apgar score of 8 or higher is generally regarded as the standard for a baby in good health.

Researchers insist that they are not advocating for Pitocin to be eliminated from the labor room, but instead that the drug should be used only when strongly indicated, not, for example, for an elective labor induction.

“We don’t want to discourage the use of Pitocin, but simply want a more systematic and conscientious approach to the indications for its use,” Dr. Michael S. Tsimis, the study’s primary investigator, said in a statement.

Image: Woman with IV in hospital, via Shutterstock

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Study: Pitocin Doesn’t Lower Risk of Cesarean Section

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

A British study of the medication pitocin, which is designed to speed up labor and help women avoid Cesarean sections, revealed that though the drug does shorten labor, it does not prevent Cesareans at all. The New York Times reports:

Researchers at Nottingham University Hospitals in England pooled data from eight randomized studies involving 1,338 low-risk women in the first stage of labor. Compared with no treatment, the use of Pitocin shortened labor by about two hours, but it did not reduce the number of Caesarean sections or increase the number of unassisted deliveries.

Giving Pitocin early or late in labor made no difference. It appeared to cause no harm to babies or mothers, but the sample was too small know if it has any effect on the death rates of newborns.

“We need better ways of managing slow progress in labor,” said Dr. George J. Bugg, the lead author and an obstetrician at Nottingham University Hospitals. “It’s a real problem, and the method we’ve relied on for so many years doesn’t actually work.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a Cesarean section rate of 32 percent in 2009.

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