Improving patient safety and uniformity of care by a standardized regimen for the use of oxytocin

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;198(6):622.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.01.039. Epub 2008 Mar 20.


Oxytocin is 1 of the most commonly used drugs in labor and has been associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. In an attempt to improve patient safety, we constructed a standardized protocol for labor induction with oxytocin. We reviewed the numerous publications regarding oxytocin use for either induction or augmentation of labor in order to determine if there was a protocol available that would maximize success of delivery and minimize the adverse maternal and fetal effects of the drug. Using the literature review and the specific pharmacokinetics of oxytocin, we developed a standardized approach for the dilution and administration of oxytocin in order to improve patient safety, develop uniformity of the drug use, maximize its benefits, and minimize its side effects. We suggest that a standardized approach to oxytocin use be adopted that uses an oxytocin dilution of 10 mU/mL, initial dose of 2 mU/min (12 mL/hr), incremental increase of 2 mU (12 mL) every 45 minutes until adequate labor with the maximum dose being 16 mU/min (96 mL/hr).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced
  • Labor, Obstetric / drug effects*
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocics / pharmacokinetics*
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin