A rise of endogenous oxytocin (OT) is associated with anxiety and meal size reduction, and the effects of intranasal OT (INOT) have been examined in the management of food intake and craving. However, the discrepancy INOT effects in different disease populations are not entirely clear.
Updated systematic review and meta-analysis. By systematically searching the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library, we obtained 12 controlled trials. We performed meta-analyses to examine food intake, craving, anxiety or stress reduction on INOT administration, using standard mean difference (SMD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) and a random-effects model.
This study examined 12 trials with 266 non-psychiatric and 157 psychiatric participants. The pooled results showed that single-dose INOT induced a significant lesser food intake in non-psychiatric subjects (SMD: -0.66 [95% CI: -1.18, -0.14]), but no effects was found in anorexia nervosa (AN) (SMD: 0.17 [95% CI: -0.32, 0.66]), bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) (SMD: -0.41 [95% CI: -0.94, 0.11]), and schizophrenia (SMD: 0.04 [95% CI: -0.94, 1.02] subjects. Further analysis on leisure food also indicated an inhibition of consumption of chocolate biscuits in non-psychiatric subjects. Neither the non-psychiatric (SMD: -0.08 [95% CI: -0.50, 0.33]) nor the BN and BED (SMD: -0.08 [95% CI: -0.72, 0.88]) and schizophrenia subjects (SMD: -0.07 [95% CI: -1.05, 0.91]) demonstrated a difference in food craving or hunger compared with placebo. Anxiety or stress level was not influenced by INOT in any subgroup (non-psychiatric, SMD: 0.19 [95% CI: -0.22, 0.60]; AN, SMD: -0.01 [95% CI: -0.28, 0.88]; BN and BED: SMD: 0.00 [95% CI: -0.80, 0.80]).
Single-dose INOT significantly reduces food intake in nonpsychiatric subjects, and further studies are necessary to assess the long-term effects and safety in obese patients. Whether INOT could be a treatment option for patients with eating disorders remains to be investigated.

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