27 Mar 2019
Male contraceptive pill steps closer to reality, passes safety test
A recent study showed birth control method for men can be a reality soon as the male contraceptive pill has passed safety test in humans.
The study, done by University of Washington's researchers on 40 men, reported a decrease in sperm activity, albeit with a few side effects.
In order to confirm the decline and pill's efficiency, scientists are now planning a longer trial.
Daily dose shuts down hormones controlling testes, study revealed
The month-long study showed the capsules, if taken daily, shut down hormones, which control testes' functions, and suggested that sperm levels of the tested men, who took the drug daily, decreased.
A co-senior researcher on the trial and a medicine professor, Stephanie Page, said, "The goal is to expand contraceptive options and create a menu of choices for men like we have for women."
40 men were part of the study for 28 days
The study, which was presented in New Orleans on March 24, involved 40 men.
Ten of them were given a placebo pill, which does not contain any active drug.
Of the remaining 30, two groups of 14 men and 16 men were given 11-beta-MNTDC in different doses, 200mg and 400mg doses respectively.
All the men took the placebo or drug continuously for 28 days.
Few showed mild side effects, but continued taking pills
Of the 30 men on drugs, four to six men in each group showed mild side effects like fatigue, acne or headache.
Moreover, five reported that they experienced a decrease in sex drive and two faced mild erectile dysfunction, but neither of them faced decrease in sexual activity.
However, the men being tested didn't stop taking the pill, which eventually passed the safety test.
Pill might get released in 10 years, feel researchers
According to Christina Wang, co-senior investigator, "This study is very short. We need three months if not more to stop sperm production."
"All we have shown so far is that it shuts down the hormones that control the function of the testes," she added.
Although researchers believe that there is a strong demand, it'll take a decade to release the pills in the market.
50% of men willing to try new contraceptive methods: Wang
In 2016, a male contraceptive injection was found, but it showed high side effects, so the study was stopped earlier than scheduled.
"Men have really limited options when it comes to reversible contraception," Wang said.
"When we ask men about hormonal compounds, about 50% are willing to try this new method. And when you ask their partners, the percentage is even higher," she added.