Sexual arousal. Oxytocin injected into the cerebrospinal
fluid causes spontaneous erections in rats, reflecting
actions in the hypothalamus and spinal cord. Centrally
administrated oxytocin receptor antagonists can prevent
non-contact erections, which is a measure of sexual arousal.
Studies using oxytocin antagonists in female rats provide
data that oxytocin increases lordosis, indicating an increase
in sexual receptivity.
Bonding. In the prairie vole, oxytocin released into the brain
of the female during sexual activity is important for forming
a monogamous pair bond with her sexual partner. Vasopressin appears to have a similar effect in males. Oxytocin has
a role in social behaviors in many species, and so it seems
likely that it has similar roles in humans.
Maternal behavior. Rat females given oxytocin antagonists
after giving birth do not exhibit typical maternal behavior.
By contrast, virgin female sheep show maternal behavior
towards foreign lambs upon cerebrospinal fluid infusion of
oxytocin, which they would not do otherwise. Oxytocin is
involved in the initiation of maternal behavior not its maintenance, for example, it is higher in mothers after they interact
with unfamiliar children rather than their own.
Pitocin is never seen by the brain, and therefore
the brain doesn’t release the complex cocktail
of labor/ birth hormones that it does during a
naturally occurring labor.
In other words, natural oxytocin is produced by the brain and
affects the brain before becoming systemic. Pitocin is never seen
by the brain, and therefore the brain doesn’t release the complex
cocktail of labor/birth hormones that it does during a naturally
occurring labor. It has recently been suggested that due to the
blood-brain barrier and the hormonal dance that happens during
labor—and due to the recent discoveries of the affect of oxytocin
in autistic children—Pitocin may be a contributing factor to the
epidemic autistic rates we are seeing lately.
Another notable difference between Pitocin and our natural
oxytocin is the rate in which it’s administered. In the body, during
a normal natural labor, oxytocin is released in spurts, ebbing and
flowing, causing contractions, then easing off. Pitocin is administered via a steady infusion with a pump. Its levels in the blood
remain constant—that is, until the dosage is turned up (
generally every 15–30 minutes).
Side Effects of Pitocin
So many people are given Pitocin without ever hearing a single
risk or side effect other than that it might make contractions too
strong—always accompanied by an assurance that the levels can
be decreased if that happens. The website rxlist.com, which is
dedicated to drug descriptions, usage and risks, says the following
The following adverse reactions have been reported in
According to some studies in animals, oxytocin inhibits the
development of tolerance to various addictive drugs (opiates,
cocaine, alcohol) and reduces withdrawal symptoms.
Preparing fetal neurons for delivery. Crossing the placenta,
maternal oxytocin reaches the fetal brain and induces a
switch in the action of neurotransmitter GABA from excitatory
to inhibitory on fetal cortical neurons. This silences the fetal
brain for the period of delivery and reduces its vulnerability to
– Anaphylactic reaction
– Postpartum hemorrhage
– Cardiac arrhythmia
– Fatal afibrinogenemia
– Premature ventricular
– Pelvic hematoma
– Subarachnoid hemorrhage
– Hypertensive episodes
– Rupture of the uterus
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MDMA (ecstasy) may increase feelings of love, empathy
and connection to others by stimulating oxytocin activity via
activation of serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, if initial studies in
animals apply to humans. The anxiolytic Buspar (buspirone)
also appears to produce some or all of its effect via 5-HT1A
receptor-induced oxytocin stimulation.
Excessive dosage or hypersensitivity to the drug may
result in uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction
or rupture of the uterus.
The possibility of increased blood loss and afibrinogenemia should be kept in mind when administering the drug.
Severe water intoxication with convulsions and coma
has occurred, associated with a slow oxytocin infusion
over a 24-hour period. Maternal death due to oxytocin-induced water intoxication has been reported.