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The Effect of Oxytocin on Fear Memory Consolidation Novel Intervention to Prevent Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This study has been completed.
United States Department of Defense
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Elizabeth A. Hoge, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Identifier:
First received: November 2, 2011
Last updated: March 3, 2017
Last verified: March 2017
The purpose of the study is to learn how differences in learning under mildly-stressful circumstances may be changed by taking oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone made naturally in the body. The investigators will also examine the impact of any anxiety, depression, and stress related symptoms on learning processes.

Condition Intervention
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Drug: Oxytocin
Drug: Placebo

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Participant, Investigator
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: The Effect of Oxytocin on Fear Memory Consolidation: A Novel Intervention to Prevent PTSD

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Massachusetts General Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Differential Skin Conductance Response (SCR) During the First Two Extinction Trials [ Time Frame: Day 2 of Conditioning (1 day post Day 1 of Conditioning) ]
    Differences in skin conductance response (SCR) between the active vs. placebo conditions trials will be used to assess for the impact of oxytocin on fear acquisition and extinction. We will take a mean of the first two extinction trials to get this measure. Data was gathered in micro-Siemens and then underwent a square root transformation.

Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: October 2011
Study Completion Date: May 2014
Primary Completion Date: May 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Matched nasal spray placebo.
Drug: Placebo
Matched nasal spray placebo
Experimental: Oxytocin
Liquid intranasal oxytocin administered in a nasal spray.
Drug: Oxytocin
Liquid metered-dose nasal spray, 30 IUs, administered once.
Other Name: Syntocinon


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Men or women 18 to 65 years of age
  • Score in study range on the Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI)
  • No current Axis I Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM) excluded diagnoses as determined by the Structured Clinical Interview DSM (SCID) completed within the past 4 months.
  • Must be able and willing to understand study procedures and return to the clinic on two separate consecutive days for the fear-conditioning procedures.
  • Subjects must be able to give informed consent and be willing and able to comply with study procedures.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Presence of a current DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis as measured by the SCID.
  • A serious medical condition or other condition deemed likely to result in surgery or hospitalization, or which would make participation in the study difficult.
  • Patients with a history of trauma resulting in head injury related seizures or with epilepsy (except a prior history of febrile seizures of infancy which are not exclusionary).
  • Use of supplemental hormones (birth control, estrogen, testosterone, prednisone, etc) or narcotics.
  • Pregnant or lactating women.
  • Women of childbearing potential not using medically accepted forms of contraception.
  • Current use of the excluded psychiatric medications.
  • Known hypersensitivity to oxytocin
  • Known hyponatremia.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01466127

United States, Massachusetts
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Disorders, MGH
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
United States Department of Defense
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth A Hoge, MD Massachusetts General Hospital
  More Information

Responsible Party: Elizabeth A. Hoge, MD, Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital Identifier: NCT01466127     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2010P-002911
Study First Received: November 2, 2011
Results First Received: November 4, 2016
Last Updated: March 3, 2017

Keywords provided by Massachusetts General Hospital:
Effect of oxytocin on learning

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders
Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on April 28, 2017