One of the hormones responsible for setting off sexual excitement in the body is dopamine. Together with other hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin, dopamine helps the body to relieve stress and also promotes some sense of cordiality. Owing to its effectiveness, dopamine has been developed as a form of medication to also help people who are deficient in it.
This article contains all you need to know about dopamine, it’s the benefit, and effect on the body.
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that plays several important roles in the brain and body. It is an organic chemical of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families. Dopamine constitutes about 80% of the catecholamine content in the brain. It is an amine synthesized by removing a carboxyl group from a molecule of its precursor chemical L-DOPA, which is synthesized in the brain and kidneys. Dopamine is also synthesized in plants and most animals. In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells.
Function of dopamine
Dopamine plays the following roles in the body
- Outside the central nervous system, dopamine functions primarily as a local paracrine messenger
- In blood vessels, it inhibits norepinephrine release and acts as a vasodilator (at normal concentrations);
- in the kidneys, it increases sodium excretion and urine output; in the pancreas, it reduces insulin production;
- in the digestive system, it reduces gastrointestinal motility and protects intestinal mucosa;
- and in the immune system, it reduces the activity of lymphocytes.
- Except for the blood vessels, dopamine in each of these peripheral systems is synthesized locally and exerts its effects near the cells that release it.
Uses of Dopamine:
- It is used to treat heart failure (weak heart).
- It is used to treat low blood pressure.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Dopamine?
- If you are allergic to dopamine; any part of dopamine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have an adrenal gland tumor called pheochromocytoma.
- If you have a heartbeat that is not normal.
- If you have low blood volume.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Dopamine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take dopamine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Has blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor? Talk with the doctor.
- Check your blood pressure as you have been told.
- If you are allergic to sulfites, talk with your doctor. Some products have sulfites.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of fluid and electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad dizziness or passing out, fast heartbeat, more thirst, seizures, feeling very tired or weak, not hungry, unable to pass urine or change in the amount of urine produced, dry mouth, dry eyes, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Fast, slow, or abnormal heartbeat.
- Cool or pale arm or leg.
- Change in skin color to black or purple.
- Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
- This medicine may cause tissue damage if the drug leaks from the vein. Tell your nurse if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid where the drug is going into your body.
What are some other side effects of Dopamine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.