Posted on Mar 28, 2019, 3 p.m.
Scientists have been trying to develop an effective version of a birth control pill for men for decades, now a new candidate may be what was being sought after. Findings were presented at ENDO 2019, and published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
An experimental oral drug, 11-beta-MNTDC appears to be safe and tolerable based on a phase 1 clinical trial involving 40 men that combines 2 hormonal activities in one pill to decrease sperm production (progestational) while preserving libido (androgenic).
During the clinical trial 30 of the men took a low or high daily dose of the drug for 28 days while the remaining 10 took a placebo; preliminary results suggest it may deliver a safe oral drug while stopping sperm production. None of the participants demonstrated serious adverse events or significant concerns, but they did show significantly reduced levels of LH and FSH hormones needed for sperm production. A minority of men experienced some mild side effects such as fatigue, headache, and acne; 5 men felt mild changes in libido, and 2 experienced mild erectile dysfunction which for a hormone based drug are mild characteristic effects that such would tend to inevitably carry.
This first clinical trial was testing for safety rather than contraceptive effects. A follow up trial is in the works for 11-beta-MNTDC and a functionally similar chemical DMAU. Based on the results of these experiments a safe oral male contraceptive hormone pill could be on the market in about 10 years. This amount of time is needed to ensure these experimental drugs are not only safe but can block sperm production enough to sufficiently prevent pregnancy.
“This study was short, 3 months or more is needed to stop sperm production, all that we have done is to shut down the hormones that control the function of the testes.” explains Cristina Wang. “...Testosterone production is shut down in the testes, androgen action in the rest of the body maintains maleness elsewhere supporting male pattern hair, deep voice, lean mass, sex drive and function…” adds Stephanie Page.
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