Intranasal oxytocin as an adjunct treatment among patients with severe major depression with and without comorbid borderline personality disorder

Hagai Maoz, Ariella Grossman-Giron, Omer Sedoff, Uri Nitzan, Halil Kashua, Maya Yarmishin, Olga Arad, Dana Tzur Bitan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Results of studies concerning a possible beneficial effect of Intranasal-Oxytocin (IN-OT) as an add-on treatment for patients with major depression (MDD) have been inconsistent. One possible explanation to account for the difference in the effect of IN-OT is comorbid borderline personality disorder (BPD). This randomized controlled study was aimed to explore the differential effect of IN-OT administration among depressive patients with or without comorbid borderline personality disorder. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted on a specific subset of patients who participated in an RCT evaluating the impact of IN-OT as add-on treatment for patients with severe mental illness. Patients treated in inpatient settings (N = 58) were randomized and double-blindly allocated to receive twice daily IN-OT (32 IU) or placebo for a period of four weeks. The effect of IN-OT on therapy process and outcome was examined among patients with (n = 35) and without (n = 23) comorbid BPD. Results: An interaction effect between diagnosis and group was observed on the Outcome Questionnaire-45 (B = 8.93, p = .007). Further analysis revealed that patients without BPD demonstrated significantly greater improvements following OT administration (B = -8.32, p = .001), whereas patients with BPD did not show significant improvement (B = 0.61, p = .76). The interactive pattern was also observed in the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (B = 0.25, p = .02), where patients without BPD demonstrated significantly larger improvements following OT administration (B = -0.29, p = .0009) as compared to placebo, while patients with BPD demonstrated no significant improvement (B = -0.04, p = .55). We did not find a harmful effect of IN-OT administration among patients with MDD and comorbid BPD. Conclusions: Patients with MDD and comorbid BPD benefit less from IN-OT administration as compared to depressed patients without BPD. Future studies should aim to identify patients who are more likely to benefit from IN-OT administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume347
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Inpatient settings
  • Intranasal
  • Major depression
  • Oxytocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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