Oxytocin (OT) is a small, naturally occurring peptide currently in clinical use to stimulate
lactation in breastfeeding women. The intranasal administration of OT has recently attracted
attention as a potential novel treatment in several psychiatric disorders in autism. However,
given the anatomy of the nasal cavity, the current design of nasal sprays would be expected
to provide an inadequate delivery of medication to the areas of the nasal cavity where direct
transport into the brain via the olfactory nerve could potentially occur. OptiNose has
developed an intranasal delivery device that provides improved reproducibility of nasal
delivery, improved deposition to the upper posterior regions of the nasal cavity where the
olfactory nerve innervates the nasal cavity.
The primary objective of this study is to identify any differences between a single dose of 8
international units (IU) oxytocin, 24 IU oxytocin, and placebo delivered intranasally with
the optimised OptiNose device in volunteers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This will be
measured in terms of performance on cognitive tests and physiological markers.