Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled Trial of Intranasal Oxytocin Treatment for Social Deficits in Children With Autism.

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by core deficits in social behavior and communication, and the presence of repetitive or stereotyped behaviors. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum which affects an estimated 1 in 88 children in the United States. At present, pharmacotherapies target only associated features of autism, with no effective drug treatments for the social impairments. Several lines of evidence now suggest that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) may be an effective treatment for the core social deficits in autism. Here we will test the effects of twice daily intranasal OT (24 IU) over a 4-week period for enhancing social deficits in male and female children aged 6-12 years with autism. This research has high potential to lead to the development of more effective treatments and earlier interventions for children with autism.

Stanford is now accepting new patients for this trial. Please contact Robin Libove, BS at (650) 736-1235 for more information.



  • drug : Placebo
  • drug : Oxytocin nasal spray

Phase: Phase 2


Ages Eligible For Study:

6 Years - 12 Years

Inclusion Criteria

- Medically healthy outpatients between 6 and 12 years of age (cut off 12 years and 11 months) - Intelligence Quotient > 40 - Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder based on the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, and DSM-IV criteria - Clinical Global Impression severity rating of 4 or higher - Care provider who can reliably bring subject to clinic visits, provide trustworthy ratings, and interacts with the subject on a regular basis - Stable medications for at least 4 weeks - No planned changes in psychosocial interventions during the trial - Willingness to provide blood samples.

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Contact information

Primary Contact:

Robin Libove, BS (650) 736-1235

Stanford University School of Medicine 300 Pasteur Drive Stanford, CA 94305

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