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Oxytocin Add-on for Stable Depressed Patients

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01211756
Recruitment Status : Terminated (Break in funding)
First Posted : September 29, 2010
Last Update Posted : December 22, 2016
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
David Feifel, University of California, San Diego

Brief Summary:
The objective of the study is to compare the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin versus intranasal placebo to improve depression symptoms in patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Dysthymia Disorder.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Major Depressive Disorder Dysthymia Disorder Drug: Oxytocin Drug: Placebo

Detailed Description:

Depression patients treated with even the best currently available antidepressant drugs continue to experience significant symptoms. There is a strong need for better treatments including treatments that can safely be given adjunctively with concurrent antidepressants in order to improve overall efficacy of treatment.

Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal peptide best known for its role as a neurohormone involved in parturition and lactation. In addition to these well established peripheral effects, there is a compelling body of converging evidence indicating that oxytocin plays a critical role in the regulation of a number of diverse centrally-mediated behavioral and cognitive processes that are highly relevant to mood regulation and mood disorders, including social attachment (Argiolas and Gessa 1990; McCarthy and Aaltemus 1997).

Each subject will be enrolled for a 8 week treatment period after a screening phase. Study procedure involves weekly clinic visits as an outpatient. Twenty patients will be randomly assigned to either 40 IU oxytocin twice daily or vehicle placebo. After 4 weeks, treatments will be crossed over such that subjects that received oxytocin will receive placebo and vice versa. The study ratio is 1:1. Dose of oxytocin is based upon previous studies in humans showing improvement in psychiatric populations related changes in behavior and brain function (Kosfeld et al, 2005; Kirsch 2005; Heinrich M 2003).

The total study duration for each individual subject will be approximately 9 weeks, which includes up to 31-day screening period, a baseline (randomization) visit, four week treatment period, 1 week washout, baseline 2 visit, and four weeks cross over treatment.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 1 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Study of Intranasal Oxytocin Augmentation of Antidepressant Medication in Depressed Patients.
Study Start Date : October 2010
Primary Completion Date : February 2015
Study Completion Date : December 2015

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Drug Information available for: Oxytocin
U.S. FDA Resources

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Oxytocin
20 IU of intranasal oxytocin twice per day for the first week, 40 IU of intranasal oxytocin twice per day for the following 3 weeks, one week wash out, 4 week placebo trial.
Drug: Oxytocin
20 IU BID for one week, followed by 40 IU BID for 3 weeks.
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Four week placebo trial, one week wash out, 20 IU of intranasal oxytocin twice per day for one week, 40 IU of intranasal oxytocin twice per day for 3 weeks.
Drug: Placebo
20 IU BID for one week, followed by 40 IU BID for 3 weeks.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Total Score on Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Score (MADRS) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The MADRS is a clinician-rated assessment used to measure the severity of depressive episodes in patients with mood disorders. The measure contains 10 items and each item is scored in a range of 0 to 6 points, with higher score indicating increased depressive symptoms.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The GAF considers psychological, social, and occupational functioning on a hypothetical continuum of mental health illness. Scores on the GAF range from 1 (extremely severe) to 100 (superior functioning).

  2. Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness (CGI-S) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The CGI-S is used to evaluate changes in overall severity of illness. Scores on the CGI-S range from 1 (not at all) to 7(among the most extremely ill).

  3. Clinical Global Impression-Global Improvement (CGI-I) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The CGI-I is a global assessment to evaluate the subjects' improvement or worsening from baseline. Scores on the CGI-I scale range from 1 (very much improved) to 7 (very much worse).

  4. Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The YMRS is an 11-item assessment used to assess the severity of mania in patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Ratings are based on patient self-reporting, combined with clinician observed.

  5. Hamilton-Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The HAM-A is a clinician administered scale for the evaluation of anxiety symptoms. The HAM-A consists of 14 items of which each item is scored 0 (not present) to 4 (very severe).

  6. Reading Trust in the Mind's Eye Test [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning and end of each treatment arm. ]
    The subject will view approximately 16 faces and asked to rate trustfulness of the person in the picture.

  7. Profile of Mood States (POMS) [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning and end of each treatment arm ]
    The POMS is a self-rated scale to assess current mood states. The POMS consists of 65 words that the subject will rate from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely) based on how he/she feels at the time.

  8. Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) [ Time Frame: Performed at each visit (weekly) ]
    The ASEX is a self-rated scale to assess sexual functioning. The ASEX consists of 5 items that the subject will rate from 1 (Extremely strong, easily, or satisfying) to 6 (Absent or never) based on how he/she feels at the time.

  9. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning of the study ]
    The subject is read a series of words and is shown line drawings and is asked to match the word to the drawing.

  10. California Verbal Learning Test [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning and end of each treatment arm ]
    The subject is read a list of words and asked to repeat them back first after the list is read and again 20 minutes later.

  11. Letter Number Sequencing Memory Test [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning and end of each treatment arm ]
    The examinee is read a combination of numbers and letters and is asked to recall the numbers first in ascending order and then the letters in alphabetical order. Each item consists of three trials, and each trial is a different combination of numbers and letters.

  12. Continuous Performance Test (CPT) [ Time Frame: Performed at the beginning and end of each treatment arm ]
    Patients are told that they will see a series of letters presented on a screen. They are told to click a computer mouse only when they see the "target" stimulus, for instance the letter "X", and must refrain from clicking if they see any other letter presented.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Adult men or women, 18 years of age or older.
  2. Meet DSM-IV criteria for Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia Disorder
  3. Women of childbearing potential must test negative for pregnancy at the time of enrollment based on urine pregnancy test and agree to use a reliable method of birth control during the study.
  4. Must be on a therapeutic dose of 1 or 2 antidepressants with no major dose changes for at least 4 weeks at randomization.
  5. MADRS score of >17 at randomization
  6. Have a Clinical Global Impressions-Severity (CGI-S) scale score of at least 4 (moderately ill) at baseline.
  7. Must be able to communicate effectively with the investigator and study coordinator and have the ability to provide informed consent.
  8. Must be able to use nasal spray
  9. Must demonstrate an acceptable degree of compliance with medication and procedures in the opinion of the investigator. (If patient cannot then he/she will be considered for the acute only portion of this study.)


Subjects on up to 2 sleep medication (diphenhydramine, zolpidem, zaleplon, or diazepam), at a reasonable dose, as judged by the investigator, is permitted in this study.

Minor adjustments in sleep medication is acceptable. Patients will be asked to notify the study doctor of any changes to sleep aids.

Exclusion Criteria:

Subjects will be excluded from the study of they meet any of the following criteria:

  1. Are pregnant or are breastfeeding (negative pregnancy test at screening)
  2. A urine drug screen performed at screening must not show evidence of recent use of drugs of abuse
  3. Any active medical condition that in the opinion of the investigator will interfere with the objectives of the study
  4. Are unsuitable in any way to participate in this study, in the opinion of the investigator.
  5. Another current DSM-IV diagnosis other than Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia Disorder

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01211756

United States, California
UCSD Medical Center
San Diego, California, United States, 92103
Sponsors and Collaborators
David Feifel
Principal Investigator: David Feifel, MD, PhD University of California, San Diego

Responsible Party: David Feifel, Professor, University of California, San Diego
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01211756     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: Oxytocin Depression
First Posted: September 29, 2010    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 22, 2016
Last Verified: December 2016

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Dysthymic Disorder
Pathologic Processes
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms
Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs