Male contraceptive pill passes human safety tests


March 26, 2019 21:26 IST

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– Rajat Sharma


Washington DC. [USA]A new male contraceptive pill passed safety and tolerability tests when healthy men used it daily for a month, a new study found.
According to the researchers, the pills also produced hormonal responses consistent with effective contraception.
The experimental male oral contraceptive is called 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecyl carbonate, or 11-beta-MNTDC.
"Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities into one, will decrease sperm production while preserving libido," said Christina Wang, lead researcher for the study, which was discussed at the ENDO 2019 meeting.
As part of the study, ten participants randomly received either a placebo capsule or a fake drug. The other 30 men received 11-beta-MNTDC in one of two doses; 14 men received 200 milligrams or mg and 16 received the 400 mg dose. Subjects took the medication or placebo once daily with food for 28 days.
Among men who received 11-beta-MNTDC, the mean circulating testosterone level fell as low as androgen deficiency, but participants reportedly did not experience any serious side effects.
Wang said the side effects of the drugs are few and include fatigue, acne or headache in four to six men each. Five men reported a decrease in sexual desire, and two men described mild erectile dysfunction, but sexual activity did not decrease, she said.
In addition, no participant stopped taking the drug because of the side effects, and everyone passed the safety tests.
Effects due to low testosterone were minimal, according to co-senior researcher, Stephanie Page.
"11-beta-MNTDC mimics testosterone throughout the body but is not concentrated enough in the testes to support sperm production," Stephanie said.
The levels of two hormones required for sperm production fell sharply compared with placebo, the researchers found. The effects of the drug were reversible after discontinuation of treatment, Wang noted.
As the drug would take at least three 60 to 90 days to affect sperm production, 28 days of treatment is a very short interval to observe optimal suppression of sperm, explained Wang.
They plan longer studies and, if the drug is effective, it will go to larger studies and then to tests in sexually active couples.
"Safe and reversible male hormonal contraception should be available in about 10 years," Wang predicted.
Wang said that most men are open to using this type of birth control in men. She cited a 9,000-person multinational poll published in the journal Human Reproduction in February 2005 that found that 55 percent of men in stable relationships want to try new male hormonal contraceptive methods if they are reversible. (ANI)


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