Most of us should be able to increase our oxytocin by practicing comfortable behaviors, which may be as simple as calling a good friend or going to the dog park and scratching some ears. But I know that there's strong interest in some kind of drug we could take to either amplify our natural oxytocin or to experience the kind of oxytocin release that doesn't come naturally to us.
At this point in time, most researchers are focusing on using oxytocin to treat diagnosable disorders including social anxiety, autism and schizophrenia. While these studies test oxytocin's use in diagnosed disorders, if they result in marketable drugs, it's very likely that psychiatrists will begin to prescribe them off-label, that is, for other permissible treatments besides those for which the drug is sold.
UC San Diego is recruiting subjects for two studies of the effects of oxytocin on psychiatric disorders. One study will test whether an oxytocin inhalant can improve residual symptoms of schizophrenia. Another will look at oxytocin's effects on anxiety. If you have a diagnosis of SAD, GAD or PTSD and want to enroll, contact Angel Nguyen at 619-543-8296 or by email.
Meanwhile, if you're curious and live in the Boston area, Harvard is recruiting for a study of the connection between social support and oxytocin. For more information or to enroll in the study, contact Laura D Kubzansky at 617-432-3589 or by email.When I began researching my book four years ago, there were very few clinical studies of oxytocin. Now, there are lots, more than I want to mention in this newsletter. To find out about these -- or trials for other kinds of drugs -- search ClinicalTrials.gov.