image of Stability of Oxytocin Preparations in Malawi and Rwanda: Stabilizing Effect of Chlorobutanol
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Oxytocin is used for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Because of the high instability of oxytocin, most products are labeled for storage at 2–8°C. Some other products are on the market which are labeled for non-refrigerated storage, but independent evaluations of their stability hardly exist. In the present study, seven brands (nine batches) of oxytocin were purchased from wholesalers and medical stores in Malawi and Rwanda and investigated by accelerated stability testing according to the ICH/WHO guidelines. Two oxytocin brands approved by a stringent regulatory authority (SRA) or by the WHO Prequalification of Medicines program and purchased in Europe were used as comparison. All investigated brands which were either produced in countries with SRAs, or were WHO-prequalified products, were labeled for storage at 2–8°C, and all of them passed stability testing with very good results. Even exposure to 25°C or 30°C for several months hardly affected their oxytocin content. However, two other investigated brands were labeled for non-refrigerated storage, and both of them had been produced in countries without SRAs. These two preparations showed not higher but lower stability than the brands labeled for storage at 2–8°C, and, for both of them, noncompliance with pharmacopoeial specifications was found after accelerated stability testing. At 40°C, and in forced degradation studies at 80°C, chlorobutanol showed a remarkable stabilizing effect on oxytocin, which may deserve further investigation. The results of the present study support the policy “Buy Quality Oxytocin, Keep It Cool.”

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 07 Apr 2020
  • Accepted : 23 Jun 2020
  • Published online : 03 Aug 2020
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