It’s not news that the hormonal contraceptive pill has had brutal side effects on women, including depression and acne.
Well it turns out that a hormonal injection for men, which has had very promising results in terms of contraception, has been halted due to the depression, muscle pain, acne, and mood disorders it caused.
US researchers say that jab was almost 96% effective in tests on about 270 men, with just four pregnancies occurring.
Not sure that’s quite enough for me…the 4% would haunt me
Scientists have been researching the potential for male hormonal contraceptives for around 20 years – it’s pretty unbelievable that they haven’t found it yet to be honest.
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said that the study was ‘extremely effective and therefore certainly has promise’.
Dr Mario Festin, of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, who carried out the study, said:
The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it.
A German scientist invented a ‘spermatic duct valve’ to turn the flow of sperm on and off:
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at men aged 18-45 who had been in a monogamous relationship for year and checked their sperm counts at the start and then they were monitored regularly.
The men received two hormone injections every eight weeks and were asked to rely on them for their sole contraceptive and then the men were monitored to see how quickly their sperm count recovered.
High levels of hormones are needed to reduce levels from the normal sperm count of over 15 million per millilitre to under one million because men constantly produce sperm.
Eight men did not recover their normal sperm counts a year after the study ended, and 20 men dropped out of the study due to the side effects like depression and other mood disorders.
There is certainly an unmet need for an effective reversible contraceptive for men, along the lines of the hormonal contraceptive for women.
However, none of the preparations that have been developed and tested to date have managed to become a commercial reality for one reason or another.
The researchers stopped taking on new participants in 2011 after concerns were raised about side effects, but 75% of the men in the study said that they would use the contraceptive again.
Maybe the side effects weren’t that bad after all.