New research shows that erectile dysfunction drugs such as
Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis may increase production of oxytocin, a reproductive
hormone released during orgasm.
That news comes from scientists at the University of Wisconsin at
They tested sildenafil (Viagra's active ingredient), vardenafil (Levitra's
active ingredient), and a related chemical called T-1032 in lab tests on
The researchers exposed part of the rats' pituitary gland to those chemicals
(which are called PDE5 inhibitors) and to mild electrical stimulation. Under
those conditions, the rats' pituitary glands produced more oxytocin.
Does that happen in people, too? This study doesn't answer that
But that topic deserves further study, since oxytocin is important in
various reproductive functions, write researcher Meyer Jackson, PhD, and
Their study shows no signs of increased oxytocin production without
"Erectile dysfunction drugs do not induce erections spontaneously; they
enhance the response to sexual stimulation," Jackson states in a news
"The same thing is happening in the [rats'] posterior pituitary --
Viagra will not induce the release of oxytocin on its own, but it will enhance
the amount of release you get in response to electrical stimulation,"
Their findings appear in the Aug. 9 advance online edition of the Journal
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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