Published in The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2 2015, Vol.122, 407-413. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000539
Authors: James C. Eisenach, M.D et al
Background: Preclinical data suggest that oxytocin reduces hypersensitivity by actions in the spinal cord, but whether it produces antinociception to acute stimuli is unclear. In this article, the authors examined the safety of intrathecal oxytocin and screened its effects on acute noxious stimuli.
Methods: After institutional review board and Food and Drug Administration approval, healthy adult volunteers received 5, 15, 50, or 150 μg intrathecal oxytocin in a dose-escalating manner in cohorts of five subjects. Hemodynamic and neurologic assessments were performed for 4 h after injections and 24 h later, at which time serum sodium was also measured. Cerebrospinal fluid was obtained 60 min after injection, and responses to noxious heat stimuli in arm and leg as well as temporal summation to repeated application of a von Frey filament were obtained.
Results: One subject receiving the highest dose experienced transient hypotension and bradycardia as well as subjective numbness in a lumbo-sacral distribution. No other subject experienced subjective or objective neurologic symptoms. Overall, blood pressure and heart rate increased 1 to 4 h after injection by less than 15% with no dose dependency. There was no effect on serum sodium, and cerebrospinal fluid oxytocin increased in a dose-dependent manner after injection. Pain scores to noxious heat stimuli were unaffected by oxytocin, and the temporal summation protocol failed to show summation before or after drug treatment.
Conclusion: This small study supports further investigation on oxytocin for analgesia for hypersensitivity states, with continued systematic surveillance for possible effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and neurologic function. (Anesthesiology 2015; 122:407-13)