A small study involving 40 patients with chronic migraines were treated with an agent referred to as TI-001 an intranasal version of the hormone oxytocin. Patients with chronic migraine who “received a dose of the agent and were asked to rate their pain, nausea, photophobia, and phonophobia on a 4-point scale (indicating severe, moderate, mild, or none) prior to and at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 24 hours.At from 2 to 4 hours, 64% of the patients who received the agent reported a reduction in pain by 2 categories (either from “severe to mild or none,” or from “moderate to none”) compared with only 27% of patients who received a placebo.” Intranasal Oxytocin Looks Promising for Migraine
The body itself produces oxytocin to ” induce labor and promote lactation, but its strongest release comes during sexual orgasm in both women and men. The current liquid intranasal formulation of the hormone is inhaled up one nostril to reach and cover the nasal mucosa, said Dr. Yeomans.” Intranasal Oxytocin Looks Promising for Migraine “This intranasal method of delivery bypasses the blood-brain barrier and directly accesses the part of the nervous system that is involved in chronic migraine, he said. The idea, said Dr. Yeomans, is to concentrate the hormone in this trigeminal system to access oxytocin receptors and decrease pain-evoked neural activity and therefore head pain.”
“Experiments in rats have demonstrated this scientific phenomenon: after application of oxytocin, the hormone is preferentially taken up throughout the trigeminal system. “It goes directly to the trigeminal nerve, which provides all the pain information from the head,” explained Dr. Yeomans. “If you put oxytocin in the nose of rat, you see high concentrations all through the trigeminal system, so it’s really concentrating there.”
The researchers noted that those patients who had taken a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen prior to treatment did much worse than those who did not take such a drug. None of the patients who took an NSAID responded at the half-hour or 1-hour time points, and many fewer responded the rest of time compared with those not taking an NSAID.
Dr. Yeomans explained that inflammation causes a 5-fold increase in oxytocin receptors in the trigeminal system, “so there’s a whole lot more for oxytocin to target,” but an NSAID will block this inflammation.
The study also found that compared with placebo, the nasal oxytocin decreased the percentage of patients with nausea, photophobia, and phonophobia.” Intranasal Oxytocin Looks Promising for Migraine
The company is now involved in a larger study involving 100 patients to test the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of the medication. With a phase 3 study likely to follow a year from now. Hypothetically this sort of product could be available within three years assuming the studies go well. Certainly an interesting study and treatment option. It will be interesting to see what develops from it.