What is Oxytocin Spray?

Oxytocin spray is an aerosolized version of the hormone oxytocin. The spray is generally designed for nasal administration, as blowing the hormone into the nose ensures that it will be rapidly absorbed by the body through the mucus membranes of the nose. Some companies also sell oxytocin body sprays, with many of these products being of questionable quality and function.
The hormone oxytocin is secreted by the pituitary gland. It has a number of functions, many of which are associated with labor and delivery and nursing mothers. During labor, oxytocin facilitates rapid and efficient delivery, and after birth, the hormone promotes milk production in nursing mothers. This hormone also appears to be linked with trust, bonding, and love, with people secreting higher levels of the hormone when they are involved in activities with people they are close to.
Doctors have been administering oxytocin to laboring mothers to speed the process in the form of sprays and injections for decades. The hormone cannot be taken orally because it is destroyed in the digestive tract. Oxytocin spray has also been prescribed to women who have trouble with milk production. When the hormone is used for these purposes, it is available by prescription only, because doctors want to make sure that its uses are tightly controlled for safety reasons.
Researchers became interested in the functions of oxytocin when they noted that the hormone appeared to contribute to the formation of bonds and trusting relationships. Using oxytocin spray in studies, scientists found that people treated with the hormone would be more likely to trust others. They suggested that the drug could be used to help people manage social anxiety disorders and social phobias, and that it could potentially also be utilized as a relationship aid to deepen the bonds between couples.
Several companies have marketed products which purportedly contain oxytocin as “love sprays.” This type of oxytocin spray is available without a prescription, and it may or may not contain the hormone, with varying dosage levels in the case of products which actually contain oxytocin. “Love” and “trust” sprays have been criticized by researchers who are concerned about the potential for abuse of the hormone.
Prescription oxytocin spray comes with precise dosage recommendations, and a delivery method which is designed to get the hormone into the body. Body sprays are generally not effective, because only small amounts of the hormone can be absorbed through the skin, and oxytocin is not a pheromone, which means that people in the vicinity of someone using an oxytocin spray will not be affected.

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