Male contraceptive pill passes first safety test

Simon Moss
March 20, 2018

And the latest, a male oral contraceptive called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), appears to be safe and effective when taken daily for a month.

"DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily "male pill"," said Page, who is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, in a statement.

The development of a male contraceptive pill has over the years been affected by side-effects on fertility, birth defects and libido.

The study found that men who took the highest dose of DMAU, 400 mg, showed "marked suppression" of levels of testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production: luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.

This Phase 1 study into the drug recruited 100 healthy male subjects separated into groups testing three different dosages and including a placebo control.

On the other hand, DMAU contraceptive pills for men pose for weight gain and may also decrease the good cholesterol (HDL) blood levels.

"There has been very nice work in this area demonstrating that men across the globe - various races, ethnicities and across socioeconomic groups - are actually very interested in contraception", she added. However, it was noted that the pill needed to be taken with food in order to work successfully.

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

The results of the study, carried out with the help of Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, were presented at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago.

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. It also required two doses a day."It's hard enough to keep in mind to take a pill once a day", Page said. However, the male birth control pills that just passed the clinical trial contain the long-chain fatty acid undecanoate, which the researchers said slows down the rate at which the hormone is cleared.

As a result, men are not able to get their partners pregnant. It's 99 per cent effective when taken perfectly, Planned Parenthood wrote, but added that it's hard to do this.

The testosterone levels seen in the study's participants are comparable to those seen in men who have undergone castration, or removal of the testes, Courgi said.

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

In a survey, men have answered that they would prefer a contraceptive pill instead of gels and injectable substances.

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