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A new male birth control pill on the horizon

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A new study presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Ga., found that two experimental male contraceptive medications appear to efficiently suppress testosterone without generating intolerable side effects.

The drugs, known as DMAU and 11-MNTDC, belong to a class of medications known as progestogenic androgens. These medicines reduce sperm count by suppressing testosterone. Most of the males in the study were willing to continue using the medications despite the side effects, indicating that the side effects were acceptable to them.

“Male contraception options are currently restricted to vasectomy and condoms, and are thus extremely limited as compared to female options,” highlights lead researcher Tamar Jacobsohn. “TDevelopment 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.”

In two Phase 1 clinical trials, 96 healthy male subjects were involved in the study. The males were given two or four oral pills of the active medicine or a placebo daily for 28 days in each experiment. Testosterone levels plummeted below normal range after seven days on the active medication. Testosterone levels in individuals who took the placebo remained within normal limits.

According to the study, 75 percent of men who took the active medicine stated they would use it again in the future, compared to 46.4 percent of men who took the placebo. The four-pill daily dose (400 milligrams) resulted in lower testosterone levels in men than the two-pill, 200-milligram dose. There was no big difference between the two active treatment groups in how happy they were with the drug or how likely they were to use it again or tell others about it.

“This male pill should serve to excite the public about male birth control being potentially widely available in the coming decades,” Jacobsohn added, citing men’s favorable experiences in clinical studies and high scores of acceptability for this male pill.

Image Credit: Getty

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