Scientists announced that a male contraceptive pill has been developed which promised to be effective, safe and does not harm sex drive.
The drug has been described as “a major step forward” and was successfully tested on 83 men for a month for the first time.
Past efforts to create a once-daily pill to compare to the mainstream female contraceptive have not been as successful because of men’s metabolism which clear out hormones it delivers too quickly. That is why temporary male contraception has mostly relied on condoms alone. The main hopes for future contraceptive developments rely on a long-acting injection or topical gel, both of which are still under development.
The new drug, however, can prove to be a game-changer. Called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU, includes a long-chain fatty acid which slows down the clearance, allowing just one dose to be consumed each day. Similar also to the pill for women, the experimental pill is touted to combine activity of an androgen- a male hormone such as testosterone- and a progestin.
The experimental pill was tested by researchers from the University of Washington Medical Center using 100, 200 and 400 mg on 100 healthy men ranging from 18 to 50 years old. 83 of them managed to complete the study. They were also subjected to blood sampling for hormone and cholesterol testing on the first and last days of the study.
The men who were given 400 mg showed “marked suppression” of levels of their testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production.
Professor Stephanie Page, senior investigator of the study, claims that DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily ‘male pill.’ She says such is especially true since many men say they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels.
While contraceptive pills have been available for women for almost 70 years, other than condom which was first invented in 1855, there has never been a temporary male contraceptive.