Intravenous Oxytocin versus Intramuscular Oxytocin for the Management of Postpartum Hemorrhage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Curr Drug Res Rev. 2020;12(2):150-157. doi: 10.2174/2589977512666200628013647.


Background: Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) is one of the primary causes of maternal mortality and morbidity during the third stage of labor. Oxytocin is the gold standard uterotonic agent for the prevention of PPH.

Objective: We aimed to compare the efficacy of oxytocin administered Intramuscularly (IM) or Intravenously (IV) for the preventive management of PPH.

Methods: We searched six databases for relevant clinical trials evaluating the administration of oxytocin for the prevention against PPH through July 2019. Data on blood loss, PPH (≥500 ml), severe PPH (≥1000 ml), blood transfusion, the change in hemoglobin, the use of additional uterotonics, and the incidence of retained placenta were extracted and pooled in a meta-analysis model using RevMan version 5.3.

Results: Seven studies with a total of 6996 participants were included. IM oxytocin group was associated with higher incidence rates of PPH (≥500 ml) (RR=1.35; p=0.003), severe PPH (≥1000 ml) (RR=1.58; p=0.04), and blood transfusion (RR=2.43; p=0.005). In terms of blood loss, the IV route was superior to the IM route (SMD= 0.15; p=0.00001). However, we observed no statistically significant difference between the two routes regarding the change in Hb (SMD=-0.02; p=0.72) and the use of additional uterotonics (RR=0.96, p= 0.94).

Conclusion: IV oxytocin infusion is maybe superior to IM injection for the management of PPH. Further studies with larger sample sizes are still needed to support these findings.

Keywords: Intramuscular oxytocin; intravenous oxytocin; meta-analysis; postpartum hemorrhage; uterotonic effect; vaginal delivery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Placenta, Retained / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin