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Endocrinology Series: Oxytocin, A Diverse Nanopeptide (Part 2)

The hormone Oxytocin is used to:

*Stimulate contractions of the uterus and smooth muscle tissue

*Help strengthen labor

*Reduce bleeding after the delivery of a baby

Current evidence suggests that Oxytocin is involved in facilitating sperm transport within the male reproductive system and perhaps also in the female, due to its presence in seminal fluid. Oxytocin is also said to have effects on some aspects of male sexual behavior and is used to stimulate breast-feeding.

Oxytocin is destroyed in the gastrointestinal tracts, and therefore must be administered as an injection or as a nasal spray. It has a half-life of typically about three minutes in the blood. Given intraveneously, it does not enter the brain in significant quantities, but is instead excluded from the brain by the blood, brain barrier. Drugs administered by nasal spray are thought to have better access to the Central Nervous System. Injected Oxytocin analogs are used to induce and support labor in case of nonprogression of parturition. It has largely replaced ergothamine as the principle agent to increase uterine tone in acute post-partum hemorrhages.

Oxytocin is also used in veterianary medicine. The tocolytic agent athosiban (tractocile) acts as an antagonist of Oxytocin recepters. This drug is used in many countries to prevent premature labor between 24 snd 33 weeks of gestation. It has fewer side effects than drugs previously used for this purpose. (Ritodrine and Salbutamol and Terbutaline). Some has suggested that the sun inducing properties might help those with anxieties, while others have noted a potential for abuse with confidence tricks.


Some side effects of the use of Oxytocin are:


*Chest pain      *Difficulty in breathing      *Fast or irregular heartbeat

* Central Nervous System (CNS)     *Seizures      *Brain Hemorrhage      *Confusion

*Severe Headache Epithelial     *Irritation at the injection site      *Tenderness      *Warmth

*Irritation      *Redness      *Swelling      *Pain      *Drainage (of Blood Vessels)


*Impaired uterine blood flow      *Pelvic hemotoma      *Titanic uterine contractions

*Uterine ruptor      *Postpartum hemorrhage

Continued: Part 3, Special Facts About Oxytocin

Found an error in this article? Please contact us!

Last updated October 2013

F. Zaria Chinelo, Pharm.D. (25 Posts)

F. Zaria Chinelo is an internationally recognized award winning writer, artist, scientist, and entrepreneur. She holds multiple degrees in Pharmacy, Molecular& Cell Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. As a Pharmacy Law Expert, Zaria helps professionals and organizations avoid potential liability. As an Organizational Management Expert, Zaria helps businesses recruit and retain sustainable talent. Zaria also helps individuals positively impact their career. Dr. Chinelo writes passionately about various topics.

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