Low-dose oxytocin stops unexplained ‘burning’ pain in fibromyalgia: A case report

m. bouchon, Ph.D.

The paper  includes:

· the case report itself
· a summary of current knowledge (2010) of the oxytocin hormone
· some reflections on current research trends ('advanced' complex biosocial) and theoretical considerations, as well as on direct observations and the basic physiological knowledge of oxytocin workings that is lacking and not improved.


Pain can take many forms, and finding an adequate treatment is sometimes difficult. In Fibromyalgia, the brain or nerves are usually seen as the culprit of hyperalgesia. The role of the 'hypothalamic osmostat' has been overlooked. We report here a pain effect relieved by the hormone oxytocin (OT) and better baseline hydration.

Case presentation

A Caucasian 53 year-old menopausal female with fibromyalgia presented with unexplained 'burning’ pain, among others. Endocrine, nervous, and immune investigations revealed nothing that could explain it.  Her medical history included a sensitive nervous system and an untreated lifelong low-grade dehydration. The triggering factor was traced back to a one-month course of bio-identical progesterone that had worsened the dehydration.

The hypothalamus is involved in various ways in symptoms of fibromyalgia and stress sensitivity, but also in the water balance regulated by the hypothalamic osmostat, so attention turned to the hormone oxytocin. OT is seldom used in therapeutic setting, except in obstetric care. Current research on oxytocin tends to focus on its central role in the brain, using large doses, and on its interaction with vasopressin, affecting reproductive and social behaviour.

A more basic role for oxytocin in the hypothalamic osmostat has become apparent through systemic effects in this patient. A two-week intranasal treatment with low-dose OT proved effective in resolving the burning pain, but also resulted in a general improvement, including of hydration. This report discusses sensitivity, similarity with critical conditions, dose-related and baffling 'inverted' effects.


The unexpected general improvement described here offers benefit for vital functions and other ‘basic’ needs, as well as the capacity for physical self-care and compliance with a treatment. The protocol used could be a new avenue to better match treatments to the needs of 'sensitive' patients.

Site Meter