Male Birth Control Pill Blocks 'Sperm Hormones,' But Will It Work?

A contraceptive pill for men has come a step closer to development. Taken daily like the female Pill it switches off a man¿s testosterone and the hormones that cause sperm production

Male pill could be on horizon as trials yield positive results

Stephanie Page, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

Though there were low levels of testosterone, not many participants had symptoms consistent with testosterone "deficiency or excess", Page said. DMAU works by suppressing several hormones, including testosterone, required for sperm production, and the first study of 100 men found that a once daily dosage, over time, hit levels low enough to limit the amount of sperm. 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.

DMAU is being developed by the US National Institutes of Health, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This is why another male contraceptive just straight up blocks sperm; it only takes one to cause pregnancy, after all.

The only physical side effects were some cases of acne and mild weight gain.

The quest to develop a male contraceptive pill has been long and fraught.

Arthi Thirumalai, M.B.B.S., from the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of 28 days of daily dosed oral DMAU in healthy men aged 18 to 50 years.

The new pill overcomes some previous challenges facing male birth control including reduced liver inflammation and decreasing the speed at which the drug clears the body. DMAU must be taken with food to be effective, Page noted. Results showed at men who were given 400mg of DMAU showed marked suppression of their testosterone levels. The results of a recent study were presented by researchers at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago, on Sunday. "Dimethandrolone is different than testosterone in that it binds to both the progesterone receptor and the androgen receptor so we don't need two different steroids in order to have an effective male contraceptive", Paige added. They also found that the men who were taking DMAU passed checks of their kidney and liver functions, suggesting that the pills are safe. Oral contraceptives are one of the medications most often used by Canadian women.

As it was acknowledged that further studies are needed to gauge whether the new contraceptive for men can truly be effective in actual use, the researchers hope to determine in the future whether the drug affects sperm count for a span of three months.

"And 60 to 80 percent of men surveyed in such studies say if there was a reversible contraceptive available, they would be very interested in using it".

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