Breakthrough! New 'once-daily' male contraceptive pill found to safe and effective

19 March, 2018, 19:54 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Male contraceptive pill on the horizon

Like most female contraceptive pills, it contains a combination of hormones - an androgen such as testosterone, and a progestin.

The findings of the research were presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Chicago.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dr. Kevin McEleny of the British Fertility Society admitted that the research was "interesting", but stressed that the trials, aside from only looking at short term consequences, did not take certain variables into account, such as the participants' semen quality.

Long-acting injections or topical gels as a form of contraceptives for men, may just take a backseat as scientists, in a major step forward, have found an experimental oral contraceptive to be safe in men with hormone responses consistent with effective contraception. She explained that testosterone preparations till date have not shown success as male contraceptives because they can lead to liver inflammation. This means at least twice daily pills are recommended.

"Women have many options, but many women can not use hormonal and other methods available to them", said Page, who heads the University of Washington's division of metabolism and endocrinology, in Seattle. Researchers added another fatty acid, undecanoate, to slow clearance, meaning the pill had a much longer and focused effect to prevent pregnancy. Despite how "suppressing testosterone" sounds, none of the men in the study showed any symptoms of testosterone deficiency.

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According to a press release on the clinical trial, 100 men between the ages of 18 and 50 participated in it, and 83 of the men completed the trial. The study was conducted at the University of Washington Medical Center and at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA with assistance from Christina Wang, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and Arthi Thirumalai, MD, Assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington. The pills were taken for 28 days once daily with food. The investigators tested three different doses of DMAU (100, 200, and 400 milligrams, or mg) and two different formulations inside the capsules (castor oil and powder). Each dose group included five men who were randomly assigned to receive an inactive placebo and another 12 to 15 men who were given the new pill. This had been done once at baseline as well.

Blood tests revealed that at the highest dose, DMAU suppressed production of testosterone and two other hormones - LH and FSH - known to be key to sperm production.

Although there were no significant changes in mood, sexual function, vital signs, or electrocardiogram, men taking DMAU did experience mild weight gain, decreased higher-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased hematocrit compared with men receiving placebo.

This new pill, developed specifically for male consumption, is called dimethandrolone undecanote (DMAU).

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