The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial

Adam Guastella, Kylie Megan Gray, Nicole Joan Rinehart, Gail Alvares, Bruce John Tonge, Ian Bernard Hickie, Caroline Keating, Cristina Caccioti-Saija, Stewart Lloyd Einfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: There is increasing interest in oxytocin as a therapeutic to treat social deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a course of oxytocin nasal spray to improve social behavior in youth with ASD. Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial across two Australian university sites between February 2009 and January 2012, 50 male participants aged between 12 and 18 years, with Autistic or Asperger s Disorder, were randomized to receive either oxytocin (n = 26) or placebo (n = 24) nasal sprays (either 18 or 24 International Units), administered twice-daily for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at baseline, after 4- and 8-weeks of treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were change in total scores on the caregiver-completed Social Responsiveness Scale and clinician-ratings on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. Secondary assessments included caregiver reports of repetitive and other developmental behaviors and social cognition. Clinical trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12609000513213. Results: Participants who received oxytocin showed no benefit following treatment on primary or secondary outcomes. However, caregivers who believed their children received oxytocin reported greater improvements compared to caregivers who believed their child received placebo. Nasal sprays were well tolerated and there was no evidence of increased side effects resulting from oxytocin administration. Conclusions: This is the first evaluation of the efficacy for a course of oxytocin treatment for youth with ASD. Although results did not suggest clinical efficacy, further research is needed to explore alternative delivery methods, earlier age of intervention, and the influence of caregiver expectation on treatment response. ? 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444 - 452
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

Guastella, Adam ; Gray, Kylie Megan ; Rinehart, Nicole Joan ; Alvares, Gail ; Tonge, Bruce John ; Hickie, Ian Bernard ; Keating, Caroline ; Caccioti-Saija, Cristina ; Einfeld, Stewart Lloyd. / The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial. In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2015 ; Vol. 56, No. 4. pp. 444 - 452.
@article{3d68928b18884d68a256afc4d5a4bd5d,
title = "The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial",
abstract = "Background: There is increasing interest in oxytocin as a therapeutic to treat social deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a course of oxytocin nasal spray to improve social behavior in youth with ASD. Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial across two Australian university sites between February 2009 and January 2012, 50 male participants aged between 12 and 18 years, with Autistic or Asperger s Disorder, were randomized to receive either oxytocin (n = 26) or placebo (n = 24) nasal sprays (either 18 or 24 International Units), administered twice-daily for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at baseline, after 4- and 8-weeks of treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were change in total scores on the caregiver-completed Social Responsiveness Scale and clinician-ratings on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. Secondary assessments included caregiver reports of repetitive and other developmental behaviors and social cognition. Clinical trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12609000513213. Results: Participants who received oxytocin showed no benefit following treatment on primary or secondary outcomes. However, caregivers who believed their children received oxytocin reported greater improvements compared to caregivers who believed their child received placebo. Nasal sprays were well tolerated and there was no evidence of increased side effects resulting from oxytocin administration. Conclusions: This is the first evaluation of the efficacy for a course of oxytocin treatment for youth with ASD. Although results did not suggest clinical efficacy, further research is needed to explore alternative delivery methods, earlier age of intervention, and the influence of caregiver expectation on treatment response. ? 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.",
author = "Adam Guastella and Gray, {Kylie Megan} and Rinehart, {Nicole Joan} and Gail Alvares and Tonge, {Bruce John} and Hickie, {Ian Bernard} and Caroline Keating and Cristina Caccioti-Saija and Einfeld, {Stewart Lloyd}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1111/jcpp.12305",
language = "English",
volume = "56",
pages = "444 -- 452",
journal = "Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry",
issn = "0021-9630",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial. / Guastella, Adam; Gray, Kylie Megan; Rinehart, Nicole Joan; Alvares, Gail; Tonge, Bruce John; Hickie, Ian Bernard; Keating, Caroline; Caccioti-Saija, Cristina; Einfeld, Stewart Lloyd.

In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 56, No. 4, 2015, p. 444 - 452.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial

AU - Guastella, Adam

AU - Gray, Kylie Megan

AU - Rinehart, Nicole Joan

AU - Alvares, Gail

AU - Tonge, Bruce John

AU - Hickie, Ian Bernard

AU - Keating, Caroline

AU - Caccioti-Saija, Cristina

AU - Einfeld, Stewart Lloyd

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Background: There is increasing interest in oxytocin as a therapeutic to treat social deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a course of oxytocin nasal spray to improve social behavior in youth with ASD. Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial across two Australian university sites between February 2009 and January 2012, 50 male participants aged between 12 and 18 years, with Autistic or Asperger s Disorder, were randomized to receive either oxytocin (n = 26) or placebo (n = 24) nasal sprays (either 18 or 24 International Units), administered twice-daily for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at baseline, after 4- and 8-weeks of treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were change in total scores on the caregiver-completed Social Responsiveness Scale and clinician-ratings on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. Secondary assessments included caregiver reports of repetitive and other developmental behaviors and social cognition. Clinical trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12609000513213. Results: Participants who received oxytocin showed no benefit following treatment on primary or secondary outcomes. However, caregivers who believed their children received oxytocin reported greater improvements compared to caregivers who believed their child received placebo. Nasal sprays were well tolerated and there was no evidence of increased side effects resulting from oxytocin administration. Conclusions: This is the first evaluation of the efficacy for a course of oxytocin treatment for youth with ASD. Although results did not suggest clinical efficacy, further research is needed to explore alternative delivery methods, earlier age of intervention, and the influence of caregiver expectation on treatment response. ? 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

AB - Background: There is increasing interest in oxytocin as a therapeutic to treat social deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a course of oxytocin nasal spray to improve social behavior in youth with ASD. Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial across two Australian university sites between February 2009 and January 2012, 50 male participants aged between 12 and 18 years, with Autistic or Asperger s Disorder, were randomized to receive either oxytocin (n = 26) or placebo (n = 24) nasal sprays (either 18 or 24 International Units), administered twice-daily for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at baseline, after 4- and 8-weeks of treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were change in total scores on the caregiver-completed Social Responsiveness Scale and clinician-ratings on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. Secondary assessments included caregiver reports of repetitive and other developmental behaviors and social cognition. Clinical trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12609000513213. Results: Participants who received oxytocin showed no benefit following treatment on primary or secondary outcomes. However, caregivers who believed their children received oxytocin reported greater improvements compared to caregivers who believed their child received placebo. Nasal sprays were well tolerated and there was no evidence of increased side effects resulting from oxytocin administration. Conclusions: This is the first evaluation of the efficacy for a course of oxytocin treatment for youth with ASD. Although results did not suggest clinical efficacy, further research is needed to explore alternative delivery methods, earlier age of intervention, and the influence of caregiver expectation on treatment response. ? 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

UR - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpp.12305/epdf

U2 - 10.1111/jcpp.12305

DO - 10.1111/jcpp.12305

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 444

EP - 452

JO - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

JF - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

SN - 0021-9630

IS - 4

ER -