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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? Yes
  • Drug class: Labor inhibitor, beta-adrenergic stimulator


    Halts premature labor in pregnancies of 20 or more weeks.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablet--Swallow with liquid or food to lessen stomach irritation. If you can't swallow whole, crumble tablet and take with liquid or food.

When to take:
Every 4 to 6 hours until term.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Inhibits contractions of uterus (womb).

Time lapse before drug works:
30 to 60 minutes (oral form). Faster intravenously.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Rapid, irregular heartbeat to 120 or more; shortness of breath.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • If patient is unconscious and not breathing, give mouth-to- mouth breathing. If there is no heartbeat, use cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing (CPR). Don't try to make patient vomit. If you can't get help quickly, take patient to nearest emergency facility.
  • See EMERGENCY Information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    Hives, rash, intense Seek emergency itching, faintness treatment immediately. soon after a dose (anaphylaxis).


    Irregular heartbeat, fast heartbeat.


  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nervousness, trembling, headache, nausea, vomiting.


    Rash, angina, jaundice.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:

  • You have heart disease.
  • You have eclampsia.
  • You have lung congestion.
  • You have infection in the uterus.
  • You have an overactive thyroid.
  • You have a bleeding disorder.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have asthma.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have pre-eclampsia.

Over age 60:
Not used.

Ritodrine crosses placenta, but animal studies show that it doesn't affect fetuses. Benefits versus risks must be assessed by you and your doctor.

Not applicable.

Infants & children:
Not used.

Prolonged use:
Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check blood sugar, ECG*, fluid and electrolytes.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, pain medicine, narcotics and mind-altering drugs.

Don't discontinue without consulting doctor. Dose may require gradual reduction if you have taken drug for a long time. Doses of other drugs may also require adjustment.

No problems expected.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Adrenal Increased chance
corticosteroids* of fluid in lungs of mother. Avoid.
Anesthetics, Possible cardiac
general* arrhythmias or hypotension.
Beta-adrenergic Decreased effect
blockers* of ritodrine.
Diazoxide Possible cardiac arrhythmias or
Magnesium sulfate Possible cardiac arrhythmias or
Meperidine Possible cardiac arrhythmias or
Sympathomimetics* Increased side effects of both.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Increased adverse effects. Avoid.
Beverages: No problems expected.
Cocaine: Injury to fetus. Avoid.
Foods: No problems expected.
Marijuana: Injury to fetus. Avoid.
Tobacco: Injury to fetus. Avoid.

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