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Rekindling romance with a love drug

Saturday - 8/3/2013, 1:18pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Sometimes the last thing you feel like is romance. The job is stressful, the kids are loud and the bills are piling on the table. While you love your partner, you can't seem to muster up the energy to get off the couch.

Relationships may need a little boost every once in a while. With a handful of drugs on the market, pharmaceutical companies think they may have the answer -- and one more product could be added to that list.

Research published in Academia.edu explores the hormone oxytocin, which is often referred to as the cuddle hormone or the love drug.

Oxytocin is primarily used for inducing labor, but it is also being touted as a couple's connector.

It is being studied at the University of Oxford for its ability to foster feelings of connection, closeness and bonding. That's why companies are wondering if a dose of the hormone, given in nasal form, could rekindle romance.

While a spritz up the nose may be enough to ignite a spark, psychologist Dr. Leslie Becker- Phelps says it is not enough for the long term.

She feels giving someone the drug without the already-established sense of closeness from a relationship will not work.

"That hormone in nature is always in connection with caring kinds of behaviors. They don't occur separately," Becker-Phelps says. "To have a healthy, happy relationship, you have to nurture it with loving actions. Oxytocin, by itself (and) without those extra behaviors, is far from enough."

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