METHYLDOPA

Methyldopa (Aldomet) is generally accepted as an effective antihypertensive medication, but it interferes with the function of the naturally occurring body chemical doparnine, which is important for normal nerve function and hormone release.

The body converts the drug methyldopa to a look-alike chemical called methyldopamine, which then shoulders aside the body’s own dopamine. Methyldopamine is referred to as a false neurotransmitter and, like a false prophet, confuses the body by providing scrambled and inaccurate information. The result is that systems crucial for erection do not function properly. Methyldopamine tricks the body into releasing excessive amounts of the sexually inhibiting hormone prolactin. In addition, methyldopamine creates sufficient biochemical bewilderment in nerve endings to interfere with the way nerves that regulate erections communicate with one another. This then provides a favorable environment for the development of neurogenic impotence.

The most common sexual side effects of methyldopa are decreased libido and impotence; these side effects are not universal, however. The frequency of methyldopa-induced sexual dysfunction varies from study to study, with reports ranging from as low as 3 percent to as high as 37 percent. In most studies, sexual side effects can be anticipated to occur in about 20 to 25 percent of methyldopa-treated hypertensive men.

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