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Researchers concerned about Oxytocin, women's 'love drug'

July 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Frank and Sally Seekins have been married for 33 years. Strolling in a park walking hand-in-hand, they may seem like the perfect couple, but they've had tough times.

"The more we tried to fix it, the less it worked because we didn't know basic precepts of men and women," Frank Seekins said, referring to having sex.

Adding to that, Sally Seekins was abused as a child and for a long time thought sex and intimacy was for the birds. So, some might wonder why they're so cuddly now.

Sally Seekins began taking Oxytocin, sometimes called Viagra for females.

"I took one in the morning. By nighttime, I felt completely different," she said. "I just felt more connected and more responsive."

The hormone is produced naturally in the brain's pituitary gland and is a factor in human bonding. It's also used to help induce labor. Oxytocin levels can rise during pleasurable experiences, like listening to good music or when making physical contact.

Dr. Matt French of the Wellness Solutions Clinic prescribes Oxytocin pills to women who feel they don't produce enough of it naturally.

"We're not seeing any negative reactions," French said.

But researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York are. Their recent study shows Oxytocin can make suspicious people more suspicious, not more loving. That means it can amplify whatever social predispositions a person may already have.

"If we did see somebody potentially moving in this direction of some of these studies have indicated, it would be very easy to just discontinue," French said.

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