Scientists in the United States say they have developed a male birth control pill that is 99 percent effective in mice without causing side effects, and that could begin human trials by the end of this year.
The findings, which were unveiled at the American Chemical Society’s spring meeting mark a key step in efforts to expand contraceptive options for men and better share the burden of birth control with women.
A YouGov survey in 2018 found that a third (33%) of men would theoretically consider taking the pill if it was available. In 2019, at least one male pill, which contained hormones to stop sperm production, passed initial human safety tests.
Prior to this development there were 2 contraceptive options for men, condoms and vasectomies. Condoms are single-use only, and vasectomies aren’t easy to reverse, so researchers have been working on developing a male contraceptive that’s effective, long-lasting and reversible, similar to the birth control pill for women.
“Scientists have been trying for decades to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, but there are still no approved pills on the market,” said Md Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student who presented the work at the meeting.
Most compounds currently undergoing clinical trials target the male sex hormone testosterone, which could lead to side effects such as weight gain, depression and increased low-density lipoprotein (known as LDL) cholesterol levels.
“We wanted to develop a non-hormonal male contraceptive to avoid these side effects,” said Noman, who works in the lab of Professor Gunda Georg at the University of Minnesota.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CLEVELAND19.COM