A new male birth control pill passed tests of safety and tolerability when healthy men used it daily for a month, a recent study has found. According to researchers, the pills also produced hormone responses consistent with effective contraception. The experimental male oral contraceptive is called 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate, or 11-beta-MNTDC.
Christina Wang, the lead researcher of the study, said,
“Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, will decrease sperm production while preserving libido.
Drug side effects were few mild and included fatigue, acne or headache in four to six men each. The drug effects were reversible after stopping treatment. Because the drug would take at least three 60 to 90 days to affect sperm production, 28 days of treatment is too short an interval to observe optimal sperm suppression. Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years.
Most men are open to using this type of male birth control. A multinational survey of 9,000 men published in the journal Human Reproduction in February 2005 that found that 55 per cent of men in stable relationships want to try new, hormonal male contraceptive methods if they are reversible.”
Researchers plan longer studies, and if the drug is effective, it will move to larger studies and then testing in sexually active couples.