Good news for women who don’t want children: The choice might not be solely your burden to bear anymore!
Scientists have said a male contraceptive pill might be on the way after a study found an experimental oral contraceptive shows promise.
Taken once a day, like its female counterpart, the pill works by lowering levels of testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production, reports The Guardian.
As a result, men would not be able to get their partners pregnant.
Dr Stephanie Page, the study’s lead investigator and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said the low levels are consistent with effective male contraception seen in longer-term studies.
The pill – called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU – was tested at three different doses on 83 men, aged between 18 and 50, by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The subjects took the drug or a placebo for 28 days once a day with food and gave blood samples for testing on the first and last days of the study.
At the highest dose of DMAU tested (400 mg), the men showed ‘marked suppression’ of levels of their testosterone and the two hormones.
Dr Page said:
DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily ‘male pill’.
Many men said they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development.
These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill.
Further to that, DMAU shows fewer pesky side effects – the likes of which women having been putting up with for years – which have halted testing on other forms of male contraceptive pill.
The results also showed none of the men suffered the liver inflammation seen in previous versions of oral contraceptives.
The side effects of the contraceptive pill have previously been discussed in national debate:
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Thankfully, with DMAU, the only physical side effects were some cases of acne and mild weight gain.
Dr Page said longer term studies are currently underway to confirm that when taken every day, DMAU blocks sperm production.
The female pill is used by more than 100 million women worldwide, but researchers have been trying to develop a male version for decades.