The dopamine discourse: Foreword to the ladies’ Viagra
Dopamine: A monoamine neurotransmitter found in the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Our libido and drives are controlled by the CNS; if that’s the engine, the dopamine, its fuel.
Dopamine influences our desires. From eating to having sex, it is influenced by most of the addictive drugs and stimulates the brain’s pleasure or reward centers. This is why people get hooked to gambling, become shopaholics, overeat and even go out for a smoke.
Dopamine secretion depends upon eating high-calorie and high-fat foods, which again explains why people tend to munch down double cheeseburgers than lean ham. It is a love for the blast of dopamine that compels people head the Mcdonald’s; it is the same reason why people like sex more than anything. Dopamine is nature’s driving force that makes people engage and create greater genetic varieties. Higher the level of dopamine, higher is a person’s sexual desire (and also a reckless behavior if the high level gets consistent). So there is Prolactin, which controls the intensity of dopamine’s effects.
Dopamine drops (and rise in prolactin levels; the two are inversely proportional) cause emotional separations that may stretch to days, even weeks following a passionate encounter. Low levels of dopamine bring in an inability to love, so a healthy sex life plummets suddenly. A good mental health is absolutely necessary for sexual desires, which can be achieved by raising again the dopamine levels. This is the secret between a women’s Viagra; in fact, it applies for any aphrodisiac meant for women. Only that most aphrodisiacs are not engineered as efficiently to maintain stably an ideal dopamine level. In that case, the lack shows up through a varied range of symptoms and a loss of libido, mood swings and consistent depression, menopausal symptoms (it occurs even when estrogen is optimum) and painful intercourses are just a few among them.
Worst happens when dopamine levels in one partner is high while the other has a surging prolactin levels. This causes emotional frictions, which is actually nothing more than a brain-chemistry shift; a distress with a hidden, biological cause. In other words, that’s HSDD, a new term that elaborates as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, with the drug Flibanserin (aptly named the Sildenafil for women) being a highly effective form of treatment.
The Sildenafil for women:
Flibanserin is a non-hormonal 5-HT serotonin receptor agonist that also acts as a partial dopamine D4 receptor agonist. An agonist is a class of drugs that can combine with a receptor on a cell to produce a physiological reaction. The drug increases the levels of dopamine and noradrenalin in the brain while taking down that of Serotonin’s; this affects sexual craving in women by making interactions possible between multiple neurotransmitters and sex hormones in the neurological pathway. These, together with various psychosocial factors, bring on the desired effect.
Mechanism of action:
Flibanserin’s preferential affinity for serotonin, dopamine and serotonin receptors make it act as an agonist, partially on dopamine receptors and as an antagonist on serotonin receptors. Its effects on adenylyl cyclase are radically different than of Buspirone or other anti-anxiety medications.
Flibanserin works by reducing the neurons’ firing rates in the brain cells, namely: The dorsal raphe, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. The reduction in cerebral cortex is mediated by the stimulated postsynaptic serotonin receptors, whereas the active cells are mediated by the stimulated dopamine receptors. Flibanserin’s capability to desensitize fast the somatic serotonin auto-receptors (within the dorsal raphe) enhances the tonic activation of the postsynaptic Serotonin receptors, thus reducing the production of serotonin at the extra-cellular levels of the cortex.
The drug’s antidepressant-qualities are brought about by its influence on the opioid receptors, though without consistent effects (such as anxiety). It also exerts a potential, antipsychotic effect along with some amount of sedation but without any sort of pharmacological toxicity.
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