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Schizophr Res. 2011 Oct;132(1):50-3. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.07.027. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

Intranasal oxytocin reduces psychotic symptoms and improves Theory of Mind and social perception in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry CB# 7160, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States.


Oxytocin has numerous prosocial and antipsychotic-like effects in animals. Prosocial effects of acute intranasal oxytocin administration have also been reported in human subjects. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial testing the effects of twice daily intranasal oxytocin treatment for 14 days on psychotic symptoms and social cognition in patients with schizophrenia. PANSS scores declined significantly and several social cognition measures improved significantly or nearly significantly in oxytocin (N=11) but not placebo (N=9) recipients. Our results suggest that, in addition to reducing classic psychotic symptoms, oxytocin may diminish certain social cognition deficits that are not improved by current antipsychotic medications.

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