(HealthDay News) — Oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) may be beneficial for patients with intractable pain, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, held from March 6–9 in Phoenix.

Forest Tennant, MD, from the Veract Intractable Pain Clinics in West Covina, CA, and colleagues examined the role of oxytocin and HCG in nine patients with intractable pain who were taking long- and short-acting opioids. Patients were administered daily doses of HCG ranging from 250–500 units and 10 units of oxytocin taken two to four times daily. Pain relief, side effects, energy, mental function, and opioid dose reduction were assessed at two to three months.

The researchers found that seven of the patients reported a 30–40% decrease in opioid use and reduction in baseline pain; flare intensity was reduced and there was an increase in time between flares. The reports varied for energy, mental function improvement, mood, and libido. One patient stopped the regimen for lack of effect and a second stopped taking oxytocin due to side effects, but continued taking HCG.

“The benefit that these patients mostly talk about is somewhat subjective but relates to what patients routinely call a ‘feeling of well-being,’ ‘more alive,’ or [increasing] ‘will to live,” Tennant said in a statement. “They also believe the combination is one they want to continue.”

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