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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00633

Persistent Reduction of Plasma Oxytocin Levels in Ketamine-dependent Patients During Early Abstinence

 Wan-Ju Cheng1, 2*, Ming-Chyi Huang3, 4,  Lian-Yu Chen3, 5,  Hu-Ming Chang3,  Xiao-Yu Liang6, Chih-Ken Chen7, 8* and  Ke Xu6
  • 1China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
  • 2China Medical University, Taiwan
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taiwan
  • 4Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
  • 5Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • 6Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, United States
  • 7Chang Gung University, Taiwan
  • 8Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan

Background: Ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) \receptor antagonist, is a common drug of abuse worldwide. Existing evidence suggest a disruption of oxytocin system involves in the development of addiction-. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of oxytocin in ketamine addiction by measuring the blood oxytocin levels in ketamine-dependent (KD) patients.
Methods: Sixty-five KD patients and 65 controls were enrolled. Fasting plasma levels of oxytocin were determined at baseline and 1 and 2 weeks after ketamine withdrawal. Ketamine use variables, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Visual Analogue Scale for craving, and Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-short from were assessed in KD patients.
Results: KD patients had significantly lower levels of oxytocin at baseline compared to controls (9.53 ± 4.17 vs 5.89 ± 2.13 ng/mL, P < 0.001). Oxytocin levels increased after one (6.74 ± 2.63, P < 0.002) and two weeks (6.89 ± 2.69, P = 0.01) of withdrawal in KD patient despite the levels were still lower than controls (P = 0.001 and 0.002 respectively). The clinical variables did not correlate with baseline oxytocin levels except BAI scores, which showed a negative correlation with the levels (r = -0.263; P=0.039).
Conclusion: We found a distinctively reduced oxytocin level in KD patients and the level did not normalize after early abstinence. Lower oxytocin might be associated with anxious phenotype of ketamine addiction. These results suggest that oxytocin system dysregulated following chronic ketamine abuse and might provide insight in evaluating the potential therapeutic use of oxytocin for treating ketamine addiction.

Keywords: Ketamine, Oxytocin, dependence, withdrawal, NMDA antagonist

Received: 10 Oct 2018; Accepted: 07 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Kenji Hashimoto, Chiba University, Japan

Reviewed by:

Chun Yang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Kai Zhang, Chiba University, Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Cheng, Huang, Chen, Chang, Liang, Chen and Xu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Wan-Ju Cheng, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, s871065@gmail.com
Dr. Chih-Ken Chen, Chang Gung University, Guishan, 33333, Taichung County, Taiwan, kenchen@cgmh.org.tw