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Heterogeneity in response to repeated intranasal oxytocin in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders: a meta-analysis of variance

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Accepted/In press11 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: D. M. is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and King's College London. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Manuscript_final

    Manuscript_final.docx, 205 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:19 Mar 2021

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


Intranasal oxytocin (OT) has been suggested as a putative adjunctive treatment for patients with schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Here, we examine available evidence from trials investigating the effects of repeated administrations of intranasal OT on the core symptoms of patients with schizophrenia and ASD, focusing on its therapeutic efficacy and heterogeneity of response (meta-ANOVA). Repeated administration of intranasal OT does not improve most of the core symptoms of schizophrenia and ASD, beyond a small tentative effect on schizophrenia general symptoms. However, we found significant moderator effects for dose in schizophrenia total psychopathology and positive symptoms, and percentage of included men and duration of treatment in schizophrenia general symptoms. We found evidence of heterogeneity (increased variance) in the response of schizophrenia negative symptoms to intranasal OT compared with placebo, suggesting that subgroups of responsive and non-responsive patients might coexist. For other core symptoms of schizophrenia, or any of the core symptom dimensions in ASD, the response to repeated treatment with intranasal OT did not show evidence of heterogeneity.

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