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In normal women sedation following intravenous administration of the alpha 2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine (1.3 micrograms/kg) was significantly greater following 3 weeks' continuous treatment with the combined contraceptive pill than at the end of the 7-day withdrawal period. In contrast, sedative responses to the dopamine agonist apomorphine (5 micrograms/kg subcutaneously) were decreased when subjects were taking the contraceptive pill. These findings are in agreement with animal experimental studies, indicating that oestrogen can alter alpha-adrenoceptor and dopamine autoreceptor sensitivity. Such interactions may be involved in the effects of female sex steroids on mood.


Journal article


Psychol Med

Publication Date





363 - 367


Adult, Apomorphine, Arousal, Blood Pressure, Brain, Clonidine, Contraceptives, Oral, Contraceptives, Oral, Combined, Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal, Drug Interactions, Ethinyl Estradiol, Female, Growth Hormone, Humans, Levonorgestrel, Norgestrel, Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha, Receptors, Dopamine