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Intranasal Oxytocin Effective as Migraine Treatment

According to a small research study presented at the 2013 International Headache Congress, a hormone called oxytocin may be an effective treatment for Migraine.

Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in neuromodulation in the brain. It’s often referred to as the love hormone because of the role it plays in bonding between human beings, including sexual attraction between couples and mother-child bonding. Oxytocin also has anti-inflammatory properties that can heal wounds and relieve pain.

A company called Trigemina is developing an intranasal oxytocin product called TI-001 for chronic or long lasting head or facial pain, such as Migraine.

The company’s researchers hypothesized that since nasally-administered oxytocin passes through to the trigeminal nerve, which relays pain information to the brain, and to the brainstem, the pain relieving effects of TI-001 / oxytocin should provide relief from Migraine attacks.

They recruited chronic Migraine patients to receive TI-001 / oxytocin via the nasal cavity for the study. To be included patients also had to have been experiencing an attack for at least 10 hours and have had all other medications out of their systems for at least four hours.

Two hours after administration of the oxytocin 42% of patients experienced a significant reduction in pain as compared with 11% of patients in the control group. At four hours 55% of patients who’d received oxytocin experienced significant relief compared with 28% of the control group.

In addition to the pain relief, patients who received oxytocin also experienced greater reduction in nausea and sensitivity to light and sound than the control group.

Interestingly, patients who had taken an NSAID, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, within 24 hours of receiving a dose of oxytocin experienced significantly diminished relief compared with other patients. This is because the anti-inflammatory properties of NSAIDs block the oxytocin receptors in the trigeminal system.1,2

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. David C. Yeomans, et al. "Therapeutic Effect of Nasal Oxytocin in Chronic Migraine: Dependence on Cytokines." International Headache Congress 2013. Abstract P59.
  3. Pauline Anderson. "Intranasal Oxytocin Looks Promising for Migraine." Medscape. July 3, 2013.


  • barbarabrownholtz
    6 years ago

    Has oxytocin ever been mentioned for use with cluster headaches? My clusters run along the trigeminal nerve. I find this very interesting.

  • Diana-Lee author
    6 years ago

    I think there’s every reason to believe T-001 could be just as useful for those living with cluster headaches.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    I find this super interesting. Years ago I talked to my Migraine specialist about the potential of using oxytocin to see if it might help with my Migraines and facial pain. At the time, he saw no reason that this might be effective in any form or fashion.

    So, this excites me. Once again, it might be another tool to add to the tool box…


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