Tuesday , August 9 2022

There is a male pill; In another step, researchers say that a study shows that libido will be retained


Male contraceptive pill, long goal of men – and women – everywhere, can be a step closer to reality, US researchers are reporting.

They say that their experimental pill seems safe while reducing hormone levels that are key to sperm production.

Available in about 10 years

"Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, will reduce sperm production while protecting libido," said study co-researcher Dr Christina Wang. She's a professor of medicine at Biomed Los Angeles Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.

But no one should catch their breath while waiting for the pill to reach the market: "Safe, reversible male hormonal contraception should be available in about 10 years," Wang said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

Her team presented the findings at the annual meeting of the society in New Orleans.

The study "shows a promise for reversible men contraception in the future," agreed Dr Tomer Singer, who directed reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was not part of the new research, and stressed "that more studies, including random random trials, were needed to confirm these initial findings."

The new research involved 40 healthy men who either received a placebo or the experimental birth control pill, which is now called 11-beta-MNTDC.

As the Wang group explained, the pill is a modified form of testosterone that provides male and female hormone combined actions (progesterone).

No serious side effects

The men went with the placebo or drug once a day for 28 days.

Among the men who took the birth control pill, average levels of testosterone circulation had dropped as low as the levels occurring in a condition of male hormone (male hormone).

However, the men did not experience any serious side effects, such as loss of large libido, as happens in a typical state of androgen deficiency.

Any side effects that occurred were rare and mild, and included fatigue, acne or headaches, Wang group reported.

Five of the men who took the birth control pill noted a slight decrease in their sex drive, while two reported mild erectile dysfunction. However, none of these affected their sexual activity, which was not reducing. None of the men gave the best to take the drug because of side effects, and they all passed safety tests.

In men who took the birth control pill, the levels of the two hormone required for sperm production fell dramatically from those of the placebo. And the effects of the drug were reversible after the men gave the best to take the pill.

Larger, longer trials are needed

Wang stressed that the drug would take at least three regimes 60 to 90 days to initially affect sperm production, so the 28 days of treatment in the study was too short to achieve maximum sperm prevention.

However, her team is planning longer studies and – if they show that the drug is effective – the next steps will be larger studies. Finally, the pill would be tested in sexually active couples, said Wang.

Singer agreed that longer trials are key to knowing whether this pill will be successful.

"To produce a healthy sperm – which has a life cycle for about three months – we know that there must be FSH and LH secretion, which is two hormones that have been secreted by the pituitary gland," he explained. These two hormones "act on the cells of the testicle to produce sperm in one [type of cell] and secrete testosterone in the other, "Singer added.

However, "the main challenge is that preventing the hormones – testosterone, LH and FSH – by taking hormonal treatment can lead to a reduction in libido, erection and ejulation," Singer said. This early stage, clinical trial showed promise, he said, but only more trials, they will test if 11-beta-MNTDC is safe and effective.

Because the findings were presented at a media meeting, they should also be considered preliminary until they have been published in a peer-reviewed magazine.

Image credit: iStock

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