Male birth control pill shows promise

Male contraceptive pill on the horizon

In a preliminary study, researchers found that when men took an experimental pill every day for a month, the drug appeared to act in ways that could potentially block sperm production, and it seemed to be safe. It's called called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU and would be taken daily just like the female pill. "Longer-term studies are now under way to confirm that DMAU taken every day blocks sperm production". Each dose group included five men who were randomly assigned to receive an inactive placebo and another 12 to 15 men who were given the new pill. DMAU is being developed by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded this study.

In Canada, oral contraceptives for women have been available for more than 50 years, and are the most often-used form of reversible contraception, Statistics Canada reported.

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

The low levels, Page said, were consistent with effective male contraception shown in longer-term studies. The men took the contraceptive or a placebo once a day for 28 days with food.

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The results from the new DMAU study will be presented Sunday March 18 at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

A previous at creating a male birth control pill was shown to damage the liver, and had to be taken twice a day, according to NBC News. This led to effective contraception.

'Many men said they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development'. Stephanie Page, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and her colleagues observed that testosterone levels among patients who had received the highest dose of DMAU dropped to levels seen in medical castration for prostate cancer. "Testosterone production is blocked and therefore sperm are not able to finish their last stages of maturation", she said. They believe that DMAU lowers the hormones needed to produce sperm enough to prevent men from getting their partner pregnant.

Notably, the researchers said few people had symptoms of excessive or deficient testosterone levels, and all subjects passed safety tests that ensured proper liver and kidney function. Some participants in a 2016 study flagged side effects including depression and mood swings, acne, libido changes, and more - much like those women deal with when using hormonal birth control.

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