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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 Oct 14. doi: 10.1111/acer.14217. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of Oxytocin Administration on Cue-Induced Craving in Co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD: A Within-Participant Randomized Clinical Trial.

Author information

1
From the, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
2
Huron Consulting Group, Inc, Portland, Oregon.
3
University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
4
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.
5
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
6
Youper, Inc., San Francisco, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) are much more likely to meet criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population. Compared to AUD alone, those with comorbid AUD-PTSD experience worse outcomes. Prior literature suggests that oxytocin, a hypothalamic neuropeptide, may be effective in the treatment of both AUD and PTSD when administered intranasally, although specific mechanisms remain elusive.

METHODS:

Forty-seven male patients with comorbid AUD-PTSD were administered intranasal oxytocin in a randomized, double-blind, dose-ranging (20 IU, 40 IU, and matched placebo), within-participant design with study visits at least 1 week apart. A cue-induced craving paradigm was conducted using each participant's preferred alcoholic beverage versus a neutral water cue. Self-reported alcohol craving and heart rate (HR) were recorded and analyzed using linear mixed-effect models.

RESULTS:

While alcohol cues significantly induced self-reported craving and increased HR compared to neutral water cues, neither dosage of oxytocin compared to placebo reduced self-reported cue-induced alcohol craving nor cue-induced changes in HR in patients with PTSD-AUD.

CONCLUSIONS:

These preliminary findings suggest that oxytocin does not affect cue-induced craving. Our results contribute to an ever-growing field of research investigating the effects of intranasal oxytocin on the symptoms of substance use disorders and will help further refine methodology and streamline future inquiries in this area.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol Use Disorder; Comorbidity; Craving; Oxytocin; PTSD

PMID:
31610033
DOI:
10.1111/acer.14217

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