A Rising Tide of Pain
Inherited Anger: How Emotion Begins in the Body

Oxytocin for Headache

A patent application for using oxytocin to treat various forms of severe headaches was published on March 8 2007.

According to the application,

... Approximately 240 million people have migraine attacks each year, ... [while] in developed countries, tension type or "stress" headaches are estimated to affect two-thirds of all adult males and over 80% of adult females. Less well known is the prevalence of chronic daily headaches although the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one adult in 20 has a headache every or nearly every day. Trigeminal neuralgia is not a common disorder but the pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia attacks has been described as among the most severe known to mankind.

The application covers the use of oxytocin alone or in combination with analgesics or other compounds, and the inventors are considering the widest variety of methods for administration that I've seen.

Some aspects of the invention include methods wherein the pharmaceutical composition is administered in a formulation selected from a group comprising a powder, a liquid, a gel, a film, an ointment, a suspension, a cream or a bioadhesive. Some aspects of the invention include methods wherein the pharmaceutical composition further comprises a protease inhibitor, an absorption enhancer, a vasoconstrictor or combinations thereof.

One interesting method for delivery of the drug is eye drops, which presumably could put the medication closer to the site of the headache.

The inventors are David C. Yeomans and Martin S. Angst, both pf whom are associate professors of anesthesiology at Stanford School of Medicine. William H. Frey II is on the faculty of the graduate program in neuroscience at University of Minnesota; I'm not finding definitive information on the final inventor, Daniel I. Jacobs.