Oxytocin for Fibromyalgia, Autism, Lactation and to Enhance Bonding
Oxytocin is a hormone naturally found in mammals that is involved in a wide variety of physiological and pathological functions such as sexual activity, penile erection, ejaculation, pregnancy, uterus contraction, milk ejection, maternal behavior, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, social bonding, and stress.1
Oxytocin Nasal Spray for Lactation -Lactation failure may result from insufficient oxytocin. A rise in the concentration of oxytocin causes contraction of cells around the alveoli and milk ducts, in preparation for suckling. Oxytocin nasal solution was formerly commercially available (Syntocinon®), and indicated for use in stimulating lactation during the first week postpartum (not for continued use). Oxytocin should not be used during pregnancy since it may cause contractions and abortion. The medication is still frequently requested and can be compounded per a prescription order.
Oxytocin promotes social behavior in high-functioning autism spectrum disorders – Social adaptation requires specific cognitive and emotional competence. Individuals with high- functioning autism or with Asperger syndrome cannot understand or engage in social situations even if they have the intellectual abilities. Recently, it has been suggested that oxytocin, a hormone known to promote mother-infant bonds, may be implicated in the social deficit of autism. The behavioral effects of oxytocin were investigated in 13 children with autism. In a simulated ball game where participants interacted with fictitious partners, after oxytocin inhalation, the children exhibited stronger interactions with the most socially cooperative partner and reported enhanced feelings of trust and preference. Also, during free viewing of pictures of faces, oxytocin selectively increased patients’ gazing time on the socially informative region of the face, namely the eyes. Following oxytocin use, patients responded more strongly to others and exhibited more appropriate social behavior and mood.2
Oxytocin Levels Low in Patients with Fibromyalgia – Oxytocin is known to have antinociceptive and analgesic, as well as anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. Researchers assessed oxytocin concentrations in female in depressed and non-depressed FMS patients and relate low oxytocin concentrations to adverse symptoms as pain, stress, depression and anxiety.3
1 CNS Neurosci Ther. 2010 Oct;16(5):e138-56.
2 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 2;107(9):4389-94.
3 Z Rheumatol. 2000 Dec;59(6):373-9.