It’s been a long time coming, but finally, we may be closer than ever to getting a male contraceptive pill.
As we all know, it takes two to tango, and so the onus should be on both men and women to sort out contraception. At the moment, it’s largely up to the girls, purely because there aren’t really that many options out there for men.
But all of that is looking like it will change, after scientists in America successfully completed a trial of the new pill on humans.
When used for a month, it was found that the levels of two hormones that are needed for sperm production dropped drastically. As part of the study, 40 participants used a pill daily for a month, with 10 of the men picked at random taking a placebo.
This is where it gets all sciencey, so stay with me.
The experimental contraceptive is a modified testosterone that combines the actions of male hormone androgen and a progesterone. The average testosterone level dropped as low as androgen deficiency, but the participants did not experience any severe side effects.
Called 11-Beta-MNTDC, the pill is a ‘sister compound’ to dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU) the first potential male birth control pill to undergo testing by the same research team at Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute in California.
Makes sense – I think.
According to the men who took part in the trial, they didn’t really have any side effects, and the ones they did were very mild. The ones that were reported included fatigue, acne or headaches. Sound familiar, girls?
In terms of sex, five of the men reported a slightly decreased sex drive, and two reported mild erectile dysfunction, that apparently didn’t affect sexual activity. Apparently none of them stopped taking the pill as a result of their side effects, and they all passed safety tests – the effects reversed after stopping taking the pill.
Researchers at the Los Angeles based centre have said that they will be doing longer trials in the near future as the pill takes 60-90 days to affect sperm production.
Co-senior investigator, Dr Christina Wang, said: “Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, will decrease sperm production while preserving libido.
“Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years.”