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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Intranasal Oxytocin as an Adjunct to Behavioral Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,30 Sep 2012,29 Sep 2017

Corporate Author:

Massachusetts General Hospital Boston United States

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The aim of this study was to conduct a double-blind, placebo controlled trial to examine the feasibility and efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy CBT for young men with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, the study examined whether oxytocin administration prior to CBT sessions can enhance treatment effects. To examine these questions, we recruited 57 male participants ages 18-40 years with a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Participants were randomized to receive 12 weeks of individualized social skills training, with or without oxytocin augmentation, or a 12-week stress management intervention plus placebo drug. Participants were assessed at baseline and every 4 weeks during treatment, as well as at post-treatment by an evaluator who was blind to treatment condition. Assessments included clinician-, self-, and parent reports of autism spectrum disorder symptoms, anxiety, depression, social skills, and overall functioning. In addition, we performed functional fMRI and structural MRI imaging with participants prior to treatment, to examine whether neuroimaging measures of brain function and structure can predict CBT treatment responsiveness.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology

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