A male birth control pill was safe and effective in early trials and is one step closer to approval after a study.
The new pill is known as DMAU and works similarly to the female birth control pill, using a combination of hormones to lower sperm count below the amount needed for a female to become pregnant, according to US News & World Report.
Dimethandrolone undecanoate contains an androgen like testosterone and progestin, according to University of Washington professor and lead study investigator Dr. Stephanie Page.
“DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily male pill,” Page said at an annual Endocrine Society conference, US News reported. “Many men say they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development.”
Study participants experienced slight decreases in HDL “good” cholesterol and slight weight gain, but these were not a risk for them. Kidney and liver function were not impaired by DMAU in the study, US News reported.
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.
The tests did not show whether taking the male birth control drug actually reduced sperm production to levels that would prevent pregnancy, but contraceptive effectiveness will be tested in another trial beginning in April, Fox News reported.
“Condoms are the only practical reversible form of male contraception — and it is more than 300 years old,” Page said, Fox News reported.
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