Friday, 21 September, 2018

ENDO: Drug Shows Promise As Effective Male Birth Control

Male contraceptive pill on the horizon Male contraceptive pill on the horizon Credit Paul Grover
Alonzo Parks | 20 March, 2018, 04:46

According to U.S. News and World Report, the new pill, called DMAU, is a combination of hormones - an androgen and progestin - and when taken daily could bring sperm count low enough so a man can't get his partner pregnant.

Stephanie Page, M.D., PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington led the study.

And despite having low levels of testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms of testosterone deficiency, Page said. "Longer-term studies are now under way to confirm that DMAU taken every day blocks sperm production". Five persons in each group received a placebo and 12 to 15 men received the DMAU pills.

DMAU is being developed by the US National Institutes of Health, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

"Our last great advance in male contraception was 300 years ago with the development of the condom". According to the Daily Mail, men who took the pill suffered from acne and a slight gain in weight, but with no other physical side effects of note. She added the current trial was to determine if the pill could be taken safely for more than one dose, but did not test its effectiveness as a contraceptive.

A daily pill for males has always been elusive to pharmaceutical developers, as oral testosterone in previous forms may damage the liver or clear the body too quickly to work in just one pill per day.

One big question has always been whether men would actually take a birth control pill reliably, since they're not the ones who bear the burden of pregnancy.

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Different doses of the pill were given to 83 men over the course of 28 days. All passed safety tests including those suggestive of liver and kidney health, a hurdle previous attempts at male contraceptives have failed to meet. The researchers said in order for the pills to be effective, they must be taken with food.

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

It is yet to be seen whether the drug proves to be a safe, effective contraceptive over long-term usage.

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.

"We're often asked if there was a contraceptive if men would be interested in using it", Page said.

"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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