Ritodrine (Oral, Intravenous Routes)

Ritrodine, a drug which has been discontinued and is not currently available in the United States, was used to stop premature labor and give pregnant women some control over when they would go into labor.


Ritodrine was a therapeutic drug used to stop premature labor. Patients would receive an injection of ritodrine to halt labor, then consistently take ritodrine orally to stave off labor until the optimal point. The drug would work as a muscle relaxant, rendering the patient incapable of having contractions and making labor impossible.

Ritodrine has been discontinued in the United States. When it was available, it could be taken intravenously or orally.

Conditions Treated

  • Premature labor

Type of Medicine

  • Tocolytic agent
  • Uterine relaxant

Side Effects

It is possible to overdose on ritodrine. The symptoms of ritodrine overdose may include:

  • Severe, fast, and irregular heartbeat
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe nervousness
  • Severe trembling
  • Severe shortness of breath

Ritodrine can cause a wide variety of different side effects. Some of these side effects can be symptoms of serious side effects, while others may simply be as serious as the discomfort they cause to the patient.

Patients who experience any of the following side effects should contact their doctor immediately. These side effects may require medical attention.

  • Blurry vision
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing
  • Dry skin
  • Foul smelling breath, particularly a nasty fruit smell
  • Increased or abnormal urinary habits
  • Loss or otherwise affected appetite
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach ache
  • Troubled breathing, typically rapid and deep
  • Unusual or rogue thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Yellow discoloration of the eyes or skin

Patients may also experience accelerated or irregular heartbeat. This side effect is most prevalent when ritodrine is administered intravenously - it is seldom experienced by patients who take ritodrine orally. Patients who experience accelerated or otherwise affected heart rate after taking ritodrine should contact their doctor immediately.

Shortness of breath and severe pounding heart rate may also occur in the intravenous form. In most cases, this will not occur with the oral form. The side effects are mostly the product of the intravenous injection and increased volume in the bloodstream than the medicine itself.

Not all side effects are necessarily worse than the discomfort they cause. The following side effects are not necessarily symptomatic of a larger side effect. Patients who experience any of the following symptoms should contact their doctor to find out how best to mitigate the effects they find most unpleasant.

  • Headache
  • Red discoloration of the skin
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Heightened emotions
  • Jitteriness
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Rash

This is not necessarily a complete list of side effects. Patients who experience any new or worsening symptoms after taking ritodrine should contact their doctor immediately. Patients can report new side effects to the FDA at 1 800 FDA 1088 or on the web at www.fda.gov/medwatch.


The ideal dosage or ritodrine will vary considerably patient to patient. Patients should follow the dosing regimen given to them by their doctor.

Oral ritodrine will usually follow an injection of ritodrine intravenously. Patients can sometimes take doses of ritodrine as high as 10 milligrams every two hours. This dose will usually fall to 10 to 20 milligrams of ritodrine every four to six hours.

Oral ritodrine was available in an extended release form. The typical dose of an extended release formula of ritodrine was as high as 40 milligrams every eight hours following ritodrine injection(s). The dose would usually then fall to around 40 milligrams every 12 hours.

The typical injection of ritodrine was between 35 and 50 milligrams delivered directly into the patient’s vein.

Ritodrine is used to delay labor in pregnant women. Women are usually cautioned against delaying their pregnancy past the 37th week. Patients should continue to take ritodrine as prescribed as long as their doctor has instructed them to.

Patients who miss their dose of ritodrine should take the forgotten dose as soon as they remember. However, if it is nearly time for their next dose they should wait and resume their dose as usual with their next dose. Patients should never take a double dose in an attempt to retroactively make up for missed doses.

The doses described above are representative or typical doses of ritodrine and not necessarily ideal for all patients. Patients should follow the directions given to them by their doctor.


Different drugs can interact with each other in a variety of unique ways inside the patient’s body. Some drugs should never be taken together. In most cases, the interaction between ritodrine and other drugs will result in one or both of the drugs becoming more or less effective or producing an increased adverse effect on the patient’s heart. Patients should disclose a complete list of all drugs, medications, and supplements they are taking to their doctor prior to deciding to take ritodrine.

The following drugs are almost always unsafe to take concurrently with ritodrine. Patients who must take ritodrine and any of the following drugs should consult with their doctor to consider alternative forms of treatment.

  • Acebutolol
  • Amiodarone
  • Anagrelide
  • Arsenic trioxide
  • Atenolol
  • Bedaquiline
  • Bepridil
  • Betaxolol
  • Bisoprolol
  • Carteolol
  • Carvedilol
  • Ceritinib
  • Cisapride
  • Citalopram
  • Clozapine
  • Crizotinib
  • Disopyramide
  • Dofetilide
  • Dolasetron
  • Dronedarone
  • Droperidol
  • Efavirenz
  • Escitalopram
  • Esmolol
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Halofantrine
  • Haloperidol
  • Ibutilide
  • Iloperidone
  • Labetalol
  • Levobetaxolol ophthalmic
  • Levobunolol ophthalmic
  • Levomethadyl acetate
  • Mesoridazine
  • Methadone
  • Metipranolol ophthalmic
  • Metoprolol
  • Mifepristone
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Nadolol
  • Nebivolol
  • Nilotinib
  • Osimertinib
  • Panobinostat
  • Pasireotide
  • Penbutolol
  • Pimozide
  • Pindolol
  • Procainamide
  • Propranolol
  • Quinidine
  • Ribociclib
  • Saquinavir
  • Sotalol
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Thioridazine
  • Timolol
  • Toremifene
  • Vandetanib
  • Vemurafenib
  • Ziprasidone

The following drugs can interact with ritodrine, but typically not with the severity that the drugs listed above will. Due to the nature of potential interactions involving effects on the heart, the interactions can still be serious and sometimes fatal. Patients who must take ritodrine and any of the following drugs should consult with their doctor to determine possible alternative treatments.

  • Abarelix
  • Acarbose
  • Acetohexamide
  • Albiglutide
  • Albuterol
  • Alfuzosin
  • Alogliptin
  • Aminophylline
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Amphetamine
  • Apomorphine
  • Arformotero l
  • Armodafinil
  • Asenapine
  • Astemizole
  • Atomoxetine
  • Azithromycin
  • Benzphetamine
  • Bitolterol
  • Bosutinib
  • Buprenorphine
  • Canagliflozin
  • Chloroquine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clofazimine
  • Clomipramine
  • Dapagliflozin
  • Dasatinib
  • Daunorubicin
  • Degarelix
  • Deserpidine
  • Desipramine
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Deutetrabenazine
  • Dexmethylphenidate
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Diethylpropion
  • Dipivefrin ophthalmic
  • Dobutamine
  • Dopamine
  • Doxapram
  • Doxepin
  • Doxorubicin
  • Droxidopa
  • Dulaglutide
  • Duloxetine
  • Dyphylline
  • Empagliflozin
  • Ephedrine
  • Epinephrine
  • Epirubicin
  • Eribulin
  • Erythromycin
  • Exenatide
  • Ezogabine
  • Fenfluramine
  • Flecainide
  • Fluconazole
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Formoterol
  • Furazolidone
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Glimepiride
  • Glipizide
  • Glyburide
  • Goserelin
  • Granisetron
  • Guanadrel
  • Guanethidine
  • Halothane
  • Histrelin
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Idarubicin
  • Imipramine
  • Indacaterol
  • Inotuzumab ozogamicin
  • Insulin (all forms)
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Isoetharine
  • Isoproterenol
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lapatinib
  • Lenvatinib
  • Leuprolide
  • Levalbuterol
  • Levmetamfetamine nasal
  • Levofloxacin
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Linagliptin
  • Linezolid
  • Liraglutide
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Lithium
  • Lixisenatide
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Ma huang
  • Maprotiline
  • Mazindol
  • Mecamylamine
  • Mefloquine
  • Mephentermine
  • Metaproterenol
  • Metaraminol
  • Metformin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methotrimeprazine
  • Methoxamine
  • Methyldopa
  • Methylene blue
  • Methylphenidate
  • Midodrine
  • Midostaurin
  • Miglitol
  • Milnacipran
  • Mirtazapine
  • Modafinil
  • Naphazoline
  • Nateglinide
  • Norepinephrine
  • Norfloxacin
  • Nortriptyline
  • Ofloxacin
  • Olodaterol
  • Ondansetron
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Oxtriphylline
  • Oxymetazoline
  • Paliperidone
  • Palonosetron
  • Pazopanib
  • Pentamidine
  • Perflutren
  • Perphenazine
  • Phendimetrazine
  • Phenelzine
  • Phentermine
  • Phenylephrine
  • Phenylpropanolamine
  • Pimavanserin
  • Pioglitazone
  • Pirbuterol
  • Posaconazole
  • Pramlintide
  • Probucol
  • Procarbazine
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Promazine
  • Promethazine
  • Propafenone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Propylhexedrine nasal
  • Protriptyline
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Quetiapine
  • Quinine
  • Racepinephrine
  • Ranolazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Rauwolfia serpentina
  • Repaglinide
  • Reserpine
  • Rilpivirine
  • Risperidone
  • Romidepsin
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Safinamide
  • Salmeterol
  • Saxagliptin
  • Selegiline
  • Sertraline
  • Sevoflurane
  • Sibutramine
  • Sitagliptin
  • Solifenacin
  • Sorafenib
  • Sunitinib
  • Tacrolimus
  • Tamoxifen
  • Tapentadol
  • Telavancin
  • Telithromycin
  • Terbutaline
  • Terfenadine
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tetrahydrozoline nasal
  • Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic
  • Theophylline
  • Tizanidine
  • Tolazamide
  • Tolbutamide
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Trazodone
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Triflupromazine
  • Trimipramine
  • Triptorelin
  • Troglitazone
  • Valbenazine
  • Vardenafil
  • Vasopressin
  • Venlafaxine
  • Voriconazole
  • Xylometazoline nasal

Patients who are taking medications for their heart should be extra cautious when considering taking ritodrine. Additionally, any medications which have side effects that affect the heart have a high risk of interacting negatively with ritodrine. Additionally, many SSRIs can increase the risk of arrhythmia when combined with ritodrine.

Patients should avoid stimulants while taking ritodrine. When combined with ritodrine, a stimulant's effects on a patient’s heart can become serious.

This is not necessarily a complete list of potential drug interactions with ritodrine. Patients rely on their doctor to identify any potential interactions between any drugs, medications, or supplements they are taking. Patients should disclose a complete list of all the drugs, medications, and supplements they are taking prior to deciding to take ritodrine.


Patients with diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), or with a history of migraines, should exercise extreme caution when considering taking ritodrine. Ritodrine can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes and hypertension, as well as raise the risk of migraines in patients predisposed to them. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, or who are predisposed to migraines should consult with their doctor to determine whether or not ritodrine is worth taking. Patients should ensure that their doctor is fully apprised of all medical conditions they suffer from prior to deciding to take ritodrine.

Patients with heart disease, blood disorders or an overactive thyroid should exercise extreme caution when considering taking ritodrine. Ritodrine can exacerbate these conditions and put the patient's heart in danger. Patients who suffer from any of the aforementioned conditions should consult with their doctor to determine if ritodrine is worth taking. Patients should make sure that their doctor is fully apprised of all medical conditions they suffer from prior to deciding to take ritodrine.

It is not known whether or not ritodrine is excreted through breast milk or whether or not it will have an effect on a breastfeeding child. Patients who are breastfeeding should consult with their doctor before deciding to take ritodrine.

Ritodrine is a class B drug in terms of pregnancy. Ritodrine will not produce adverse effects on a human fetus.


Ritodrine should be stored at room temperature, away from extreme temperatures, moisture, and direct light.

Ritodrine should never be frozen.


When it was available, ritodrine was an incredibly useful drug to control pregnancies. Properly used, it could eliminate the risks of a premature pregnancy, both to the mother and the child. When given the respect a drug of its caliber demands, ritodrine would have been a relatively manageable and safe drug to take, despite its long list of potential drug interactions and potentially lethal side effects on the heart.


Last Reviewed:
January 30, 2018
Last Updated:
January 27, 2018
Content Source: