Oxytocin sprays - do they really work?
February 3, 2010 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience (positive or negative) with oxytocin nasal sprays?

I've recalled reading articles on the effectiveness of oxytocin (not to be confused with oxycotin) nasal spray (such as here on the Blue), and it seems like it would help address some of my mental health issues.

I see that there are now people selling oxytocin nasal spray, such as this. However, I'm reluctant to spend $60 for something that could just a big placebo.

I only seemed to find two reviews and they were sorta ambivalent about it. Most of the negative reviews seem to be targeted towards a product called "Liquid Trust" which seems to be more of a bodyspray or towards tablet or liquid based forms of oxytocin.

Just curious, does anyone have any experience with any sort of oxytocin spray, good or bad? I'm not expecting a miracle cure, I'm wondering if the claims of being able to trust others and that sort of thing are true or not.
posted by champthom to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
That spray you linked isn't oxytocin. It's a 'homeopathic formula' that's designed to 'coax our pituitary to release' oxytocin. It's also filled with self-contradictory nonsense. Anyway, regardless of whether or not squirting oxytocin into your nose has positive effects on your life, which is possible but sounds mad scary, don't buy this stuff if that's what you want to test. This is almost definitely in the scam category.
posted by jeb at 4:20 PM on February 3, 2010

There is some positive research within the scientific community that suggests that there is some benefit to oxytocin therapy when it comes to prosocial interaction, however you need to understand why there's a reluctance to go down that path. People who are taking synthetic oxytocin are essentially bypassing their natural wariness of others; there's the possibility of an increased risk of trusting the wrong people and getting taken advantage of.

That said, the product you linked isn't actually an oxytocin inhaler; it's a stimulator of oxytocin production in your body. If you want to go down that path, consult with your doctor and see if he/she thinks you're a candidate for this type of therapy.
posted by Hiker at 5:11 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

hugs, kisses, caresses, touching, eye contact while communicating, singing, laughing . . . and low-dose homeopathic accelerants.

Kittens, puppies, babies, motherhood, apple pie... and bait-and-switch pseudoscientific bafflegab.

They can't even spell "accelerant" in their page title. Don't buy from them.
posted by flabdablet at 5:18 PM on February 3, 2010

the product you linked isn't actually an oxytocin inhaler; it's a stimulator of oxytocin production in your body tap water. FTFY.
posted by flabdablet at 5:20 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

I did a nasal-spray snort of oxytocin as part of a research study once. I think it put me in a chattier mood and I remember laughing a little more than usual, but I played the "trust game" the same since I studied game theory and knew the optimal strategy. Oh well.

That said, the product you linked to looks like 100% snake oil. Actually, real snake oil would probably work better: eating fatty foods stimulates oxytocin naturally. Why not make sure you have a little something in your stomach before you go out?
posted by aquafortis at 12:04 AM on February 4, 2010

Wow, my first thought on reading this thread is why would anyone want to snort oxytocin, as it seems like it would cause hella uterine cramps, considering oxytocin is the substance given to induce labor. I would certainly find out if this is a side effect before trying it. Yes, I realize the OP is male. But it can also reduce urine excretion (Wikipedia) and also inhibit other necessary hormones. I'm not sure I'd want to mess with those things.

Given that Oxytocin has a half-life of 1-6 minutes according to Google, (meaning the drug is gone from the bloodstream in 2-12 minutes) I'm also very uncertain as to how long any effects would last.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:33 AM on February 4, 2010

That's not really how half-lives work. If they did work that way, there would be no need for them, because you could simply quote an elimination time instead.

If you consider a drug "gone" from the bloodstream when its concentration drops below 1%, that requires nearly seven half-life periods, not two.
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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