Br J Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 7. doi: 10.1111/bph.15617. Online ahead of print.
Existing pharmacotherapies for managing craving, a strong predictor of relapse to automated addictive behaviours, are limited in efficacy and characterised by increased health risks associated with their pharmacological profile. Preclinical studies have identified oxytocin as a promising pharmacotherapy with anti-craving properties for addictive behaviours. Here, we provide the first systematic review of 17 human studies (N=722; 30% female) investigating the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin to reduce craving or consumption in addictive behaviours. We identify intranasal oxytocin as a method that warrants further investigation regarding its capacity to decrease cue-induced, acute stress-induced or withdrawal-related craving and relapse related to alcohol, cannabis, opioids, cocaine, or nicotine, including a potential role as ad-hoc medication following exposure to drug-related cues. Future studies should investigate the role of factors such as treatment regimes and sample characteristics, including the role of the amygdala, which we propose as a distinct mechanism mediating oxytocin’s anti-craving properties.
Source: ncbi 2