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Birth Control Pills for Men are Possible, Studies Suggest

Circulating testosterone levels were reduced in men who took 11-beta-MNTDC, but no severe side effects were reported. The most common side effects were fatigue, acne, headache, small decreases in sex drive, and mild erectile dysfunction. However, none of the side effects stopped men from having sex, and none of the men dropped out of the study because of side effects.

Men who took the drug also had lower levels of hormones needed for sperm production. After treatment, effects were reversed. In other words, after stopping the drug, these hormonal levels returned to normal.

While the results are encouraging, it is much too early to expect male birth control pills at the local pharmacy. So far, trials have determined that the drug is safe, but longer trials are needed to investigate how effective it is.

“Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years,” said Dr. Christina Wang, a co-senior investigator, in a press release.

11-beta-MNTDC isn’t the only prospective male birth control pill currently under study. In September 2018, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a study on dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU). Researchers found that DMAU was well-tolerated in a 28-day study of 82 healthy men. They suggested further research to see whether DMAU would suppress sperm production.

“The goal is to find the compound that has the fewest side effects and is the most effective,” said co-senior-investigator Dr. Stephanie Page.

“We are developing two oral drugs in parallel in an attempt to move the [contraceptive medicine] field forward,” Dr. Page added.

Resources

BusinessTech.co.za

“A male birth control pill has just passed human safety tests”

(March 26, 2019)

https://businesstech.co.za/news/lifestyle/307016/a-male-birth-control-pill-has-passed-human-safety-tests/

The Endocrine Society

“Second potential male birth control pill passes human safety tests”

(March 25, 2019)

https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/2019/endo-2019--second-potential-male-birth-control-pill-passes-human-safety-tests

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Thirumalai, Arthi

“Effects of 28 Days of Oral Dimethandrolone Undecanoate in Healthy Men: A Prototype Male Pill”

(Full-text. Published: September 24, 2018)

https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/104/2/423/5105935

TechnologyNetworks.com

Lansdowne, Laura Elizabeth

“Developing a Male Birth Control Pill”

(June 10, 2019)

https://www.technologynetworks.com/drug-discovery/articles/male-birth-control-development-of-a-hormonal-contraceptive-pill-320339

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Bakare, Tolulope, MD

“‘The pill' for guys: Male birth control option passes safety tests”

(April 30, 2019)

https://utswmed.org/medblog/pill-guys-male-birth-control-option-passes-safety-tests/

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