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Borderline Personality Disorder and Oxytocin: Review of Clinical Trials and Future Directions

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 23 ]

Author(s):

Ali Amad, Pierre Thomas and M. Mercedes Perez-Rodriguez   Pages 3311 - 3316 ( 6 )

Abstract:


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a common mental disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of emotional Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a common mental disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of emotional lability, impulsivity, interpersonal difficulties, identity disturbances, and disturbed cognition. Traditional pharmacotherapies are effective in treating some of these core symptoms but have only modest effects on the domain of interpersonal dysfunction of BPD. Thus there is a need to develop new, neurobiologically informed pharmacological treatments for BPD. This review focuses on the potential use of intranasal oxytocin (OXT), which has key roles in the regulation of complex social cognition and behaviors, to target symptoms of interpersonal dysfunction in BPD. Surprisingly, despite promising data on the prosocial effects of OXT, only 5 trials in BPD have been published to date. These trials show mixed results with on one hand, a decrease of emotional responses to stress and on the other hand, some "paradoxical" reactions with worsened interpersonal anxiety and decreased cooperative behavior. These mixed results are interpreted according to different theoretical models and also in light of some methodological limitations. Further studies are needed to understand the effect of OXT in patients with BPD and ongoing clinical trials will provide some answers to remaining questions on the use of OXT in BPD. Recommendations for future studies are also proposed in this review.

Keywords:

Borderline personality disorder, oxytocin, off-label.

Affiliation:

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Psychiatry Box #1230, 1 Gustave L. Levy Pl, New York, NY 10029.



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