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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Long-term oxytocin administration improves social behaviors in a girl with autistic disorder

Hirotaka Kosaka12*, Toshio Munesue3, Makoto Ishitobi2, Mizuki Asano2, Masao Omori4, Makoto Sato15, Akemi Tomoda1 and Yuji Wada12

Author affiliations

1 Research Center for Child Mental Development, University of Fukui, Eiheiji, Fukui, 910-1193, Japan

2 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Eiheiji, Fukui, 910-1193, Japan

3 Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, 920-8641, Japan

4 Faculty of Nursing and Social Welfare Sciences, Fukui Prefectural University, Eiheiji, Fukui, 910-1195, Japan

5 Division of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Department of Morphological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Eiheiji, Fukui, 910-1193, Japan

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:110  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-110

Published: 13 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) exhibit core autistic symptoms including social impairments from early childhood and mostly show secondary disabilities such as irritability and aggressive behavior based on core symptoms. However, there are still no radical treatments of social impairments in these patients. Oxytocin has been reported to play important roles in multiple social behaviors dependent on social recognition, and has been expected as one of the effective treatments of social impairments of patients with ASDs.

Case presentation

We present a case of a 16-year-old girl with autistic disorder who treated by long-term administration of oxytocin nasal spray. Her autistic symptoms were successfully treated by two month administration; the girl’s social interactions and social communication began to improve without adverse effects. Her irritability and aggressive behavior also improved dramatically with marked decreases in aberrant behavior checklist scores from 69 to 7.

Conclusion

This case is the first to illustrate long-term administration of oxytocin nasal spray in the targeted treatment of social impairments in a female with autistic disorder. This case suggests that long-term nasal oxytocin spray is promising and well-tolerated for treatment of social impairments of patients with ASDs.

Keywords:
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs); Oxytocin; Social impairments