New male contraceptive pill deemed safe after study finds it decreases sperm count but keeps sex drive intact
The pill is the second oral contraceptive in the works for men and is currently undergoing clinical trials but it will take at least 10 years before the pill goes on sale
A new form of birth control for men had been declared as safe by researchers who tested out the new drug. The pill is the second oral contraceptive in the works for men that looks promising, and both are following close on the heels of a birth control gelt that is currently undergoing clinical trials.
This is a major milestone but it will take at least 10 years before the male contraceptive is available for sale. Researchers at the Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute and the University of Washington, however, are happy to report that the drug safely reduces hormones required for sperm production without killing a man's sex drive.
Daily Mail reported that the development of the oral contraceptive finally gained some traction in recent years, with the gel that is to be rubbed on the back on shoulders in the forefront. The oral contraceptive, the researcher's report, has passed its first major test for safety and green light has now been lit. The gel is currently in clinical trials, which are set to conclude around 2022.
The new drug, which is called 11-beta-MNTDC, is a modified synthetic form of testosterone. It reportedly acts both on the male hormones, which are called androgens, and on progesterone, which is a hormone that is produced in women's ovaries that facilitate pregnancy, and by the male endocrine system to produce the testosterone.
The idea behind the contraceptive is that the drug should be able to reduce the amount of sperm production in the testes all the while maintaining a normal testosterone level throughout the body. In the tests run by the researchers, 40 adult men - 10 of whom only got placebos - appeared like they were capable of reducing the hormone production down to levels of someone who is naturally androgen deficient. The men took a daily dose of 200 or 400 mg tablets with food for about 28 days.
At the end of the study, no one had quit the drug, even though some experienced side effects like fatigue, headaches or acne. Five of the men also mentioned that their libidos were lower than normal but they were able to maintain their sex lives.
Even though the levels of their hormones dropped to a significant level, the researchers have said that it will take between 60 to 90 days for the sperm count in general to decrease. The drug is said to have hampered the production of the two hormones which are needed to make sperm.
The researchers have also said that they cannot say for certain that the drug works but they do know it is safe and that the effects have been promising so far. Dr. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said: "The goal is to find the compound that has the fewest side effects and is the most effective."
The next stages of the drug approval process will take two and three years, respectively, and then the FDA's assessment can take about two years. Co-investigator Christina Wang, an associate director at Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute, said: "Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years."