Scientists have deemed a new form of male birth control safe for use, following that it reduces sperm production without killing sex drive in men.
11-beta-MNTDC, the male contraceptive pill, is a synthetic form of testosterone which acts on male androgen hormones and female progesterone, thereby preventing pregnancy.
It suppresses the levels of hormones that drive the production of sperm and testosterone in the testes.
The researchers at the university of Washington and Los Angeles’ bio-med institute suggested the pill causes minimal side effects following the results from a phase 1 clinical trial involving 40 men.
“Our results suggest that this pill will decrease sperm production while preserving libido,” Christina Wang, the lead researcher, said.
“Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years.”
“This study is very short and we need three months if not more to stop sperm production. All we have shown so far is that it shuts down the hormones that control the function of the testes.”
During the clinical trial, Wang and her team employed the services of 40 healthy men.
For about 28 days, 30 of these men took a low or higher daily dose of the 11-beta-MNTDC, while the remaining 10 men took a capsule of placebo daily.
Those who took the drug did not demonstrate serious adverse events or significant clinical concerns, but showed significantly reduced levels of two hormones called LH and FSH that are needed for sperm production.
Five participants reported mildly decreased sex drive, and two men described mild erectile dysfunction, but sexual activity was not decreased.
Stephanie Page, Wang’s colleague, said the side-effects of lower testosterone levels were “minimal”.
“11-beta-MNTDC mimics testosterone through the rest of the body but is not concentrated enough in the testes to support sperm production,” Page said.
“The goal is to find the compound that has the fewest side effects and is the most effective.
“We are developing two oral drugs in parallel in an attempt to move the (contraceptive medicine) field forward.”
The new findings were presented at the endocrine society’s annual meeting in New Orleans and are published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.