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New study shows huge breakthrough in male contraceptive pill

Emily Puckering

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| Last updated 

New study shows huge breakthrough in male contraceptive pill

A new study has shown a huge breakthrough in the ongoing production of a male contraceptive pill.

The days of women carrying the burden of contraception could soon be no more as the study demonstrated that two experimental male contraception pills successfully lowered testosterone.

The study, presented at ENDO 2022, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta, Georgia, suggested that the two experimental pills were able to reduce testosterone without causing 'unacceptable side effects'.

As reported by Sci Tech Daily, the drugs DMAU and 11-MNTDC were used in the pills, which reduce testosterone - ultimately reducing the number of sperm produced.

The study found that the two pills successfully lowered testosterone. Credit: Andy Gibson/Alamy Stock Photo
The study found that the two pills successfully lowered testosterone. Credit: Andy Gibson/Alamy Stock Photo

96 'healthy male participants' took part in two Phase 1 clinical trials and for 28 days, the males in each trial were given either two or four oral pills containing the active drug or a placebo.

The men on the active drug had their testosterone levels fall below normal after seven days, while those on the placebo drug had their levels remain normal.

Although negative side effects of lowering testosterone have been quite common in the past - such as decreased body hair, hot flushes, fatigue and increased body fat, according to HealthLine - the majority of men in the study were willing to continue taking the drugs, indicating that the adverse effects were acceptable.

So much so, that 75 percent of the men who took the active drug said they'd be willing to use it in the future, compared to 46.6 percent of those taking the placebo.

Lead researcher Tamar Jacobsohn of the Contraceptive Development Program at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said of the study: "Male contraception options are currently restricted to vasectomy and condoms, and are thus extremely limited as compared to female options."

She added: “Development of an effective, reversible male contraceptive method will improve reproductive options for men and women, have a major impact on public health by decreasing unintended pregnancy, and allow men to have an increasingly active role in family planning.

Condoms or vasectomy are the only options for male contraception at the moment. Credit: B Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo
Condoms or vasectomy are the only options for male contraception at the moment. Credit: B Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo

"Men’s positive experiences in clinical trials and high ratings of acceptability for this male pill should serve to excite the public about male birth control being potentially widely available in the coming decades."

As Jacobsohn outlined, the only contraceptive options for men are either condoms or a vasectomy - which is obviously a much more extreme option that isn't easily reversed.

So it looks like the prospect of a functional, male contraceptive pill is certainly on the horizon.

Featured Image Credit: Igor Mojzes/Science Photo Library/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Health, News

Emily Puckering
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