Intranasal Oxytocin for the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Psychopharmacological Intervention


The purpose of the study is to identify the effect of intranasal oxytocin compared to a placebo on social function in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study aims to determine the safety and tolerability of intranasal oxytocin, its effect on quality of life and anxiety, and whether or not it can improve core symptoms of ASD such as social cognition and responsiveness. We are doing this research because it is currently not known whether or not intranasal oxytocin works for adults with ASD.

Who can participate

  • 18-45 years old with ASD
  • Can tolerate venipuncture
  • Fluency in English
  • Able to provide written informed consent or able to provide written informed consent from their surrogate decision maker

What's Involved

This is a four-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of intranasal oxytocin for the treatment of adults with ASD who struggle with social functioning. You will be asked to come in to Holland Bloorview for a screening session. At this visit, we will talk with you, complete some behavioural tests and determine if you can safely participate in our research. If you meet eligibility criteria, you will be given a daily dose of oxytocin for the duration of the study. You will visit Holland Bloorview every two weeks for three months so that our research physicians can monitor your progress. There will also be one final follow up visit which will occur one month after you complete the study to ensure safety of oxytocin discontinuation and to look for possible maintenance of any favourable effects of oxytocin.

Interested in participating

For more information about this study and to see if you are eligible, please contact Rianne Hastie Adams at 416-425-6220 x 6515 or rhastieadams@hollandbloorview.ca. Contacting us for more information does not mean that you or your child have to agree to participate in the study.

Funding Agency

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Learn more about this study

Please do not share any confidential information. The research team will contact you by phone or email to provide more details about this study.