Neuropharmacological Basis of Social Connection: The Role of Opioids
From birth we rely on others for comfort and care and derive pleasure from being together. Research from the fields of health psychology, social psychology, and public health converge to highlight the importance of having and maintaining good relationships for overall health. Indeed, having close friends and family and feeling connected to them has been called a basic need, similar to our need for food and water. It may not be a coincidence then that feelings of connection rely on similar systems in the body as other needs that are both basic and highly pleasing and rewarding. For instance, its possible that opioids, a substance in the body associated with pleasant, euphoric feelings, may also be important for connecting with others. This study will examine the role of opioids in feeling connected to others by administering a drug called naltrexone, that effects opioid processing in the body, on perceptions and feelings toward a number of tasks in the lab. Additionally, to assess the effects of naltrexone outside of the lab, participants will complete daily diary responses via text and online surveys.
40 participants will take both placebo and naltrexone. Participants will complete two sessions, one in each drug condition, in which they complete a number of tasks including reading messages on a computer screen, holding a number of objects, and viewing images while undergoing electric shocks. Participants will also complete a daily diary for 14 days while on naltrexone and placebo. Prior to these lab sessions participants will be screened at UCLA's Clinical & Tranlational Research Center (CTRC) to ensure that they are healthy and that it is safe for them to take the study drug.
We hypothesize that people will report feeling less socially connected when on naltrexone compared to placebo and will show subsequent changes in social behavior outside of the lab.
|Study Design:||Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
|Official Title:||Neuropharmacological Basis of Social Connection: The Role of Opioids|
- self-reported feelings of connection [ Time Frame: participants will report on their feelings of connection during two separate lab visits, once during each drug assignment, approximately 2 weeks apart ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Participants will read positive, loving messages from friends and family members and will then respond to the question "How connected did reading the messages make you feel?"
- daily self-reported feelings of social connection [ Time Frame: 9 times a day for 14 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Participants will respond to daily text messages about their feelings of connection when on naltrexone and when on placebo.
- self-reported physical symptoms [ Time Frame: once a day for 14 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]At the end of each day while on a study drug (7 days during naltrexone and 7 days during placebo) participants will report on their physical symptoms.
|Study Start Date:||October 2012|
|Study Completion Date:||February 2014|
|Primary Completion Date:||February 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Participants will take 4 doses of naltrexone over 4 days (25mg/day for days 1 and 2, 50mg/day for days 3 and 4) as well as 4 matched placebo pills for a total of 8 days. Capsules will be packaged into blister packs.
Participants will be asked to take the first drug, either naltrexone or placebo, once a day for three days prior to the first experimental session and when they arrive at the lab for the experimental procedure . After the first session, participants will take the second study drug for three days prior to the second experimental session and when they arrive for the second experimental procedure.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01672723
|United States, California|
|UCLA Department of Psychology|
|Los Angeles, California, United States, 90095-1563|
|Principal Investigator:||Naomi I Eisenberger, PhD||University of California, Los Angeles|