New Male Birth Control Pill Safe, Effective

Men could be taking birth control pills soon after scientists said a study found an experimental oral contraceptive shows promise. File

While there may be concerns that a male contraceptive pill wouldn't work because men would forget to take it, study co-author Dr. Arthi Thirumalai of the University of Washington was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying it would be "quite old-fashioned" to draw such conclusions, as surveys had found that men are also willing to "take responsibility for contraception".

"Dimethandrolone is a modified form of testosterone, which has been chemically modified to get rid of the problem of liver toxicity", she explained. 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.

Men could soon be able to take birth control pills.

The researchers presented their findings from the clinical trial on the male birth control pills at The Endocrine Society's annual meeting over the weekend.

But DMAU contains a long-chain fatty-acid molecule that slows down the clearance of testosterone, Page said, meaning it stays in the body for a longer period of time.

On the first and final days of the new study, the participants gave blood samples which were used for hormone and cholesterol tests, according to the press release.

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Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle tested the pill at three different doses on 83 men, aged between 18 and 50. While women are more likely to trust their partners with contraception than you might think, quite a few men still (archaically, absurdly) believe that contraception is a woman's job.

While there is a fear men may forget to take the tablets, researchers hope this can be addressed by a longer-lasting ingredient that means they can be taken daily rather than twice a day as with previous versions. Instead of estrogen, DMAU uses a male hormone, such as testosterone.

The lower levels of testosterone produced by taking the pill did not seem to cause any of the symptoms usually associated with testosterone deficiency, Page added.

Decreased sex drive can also be a side effect of low testosterone levels, but again, only a small number of participants (eight who took the drug) reported this side effect. It's 99 per cent effective when taken perfectly, Planned Parenthood wrote, but added that it's hard to do this.

While some subjects on all doses experienced mild weight gain, DMAU appeared safe. Their liver functions and kidney functions were however normal and the drug was deemed safe. "Longer-term studies are now under way to confirm that DMAU taken every day blocks sperm production".

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.

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