After more than three decades of clinical trials, scientists have finally created an experimental "male pill" that can provide effective contraception minus the mood swings, decreased libido, and other serious side effects.
Dimethandrolone undecanoate or DMAU releases a combination of androgen and progesterone receptors to form an agent that inhibits the production of gonadotropins and new sperm cells while maintaining androgenic activity.
Testosterone pills normally require two doses per day but DMAU contains a fatty acid, which prevents the male body from metabolizing too quickly. It is administered the same way as conventional contraceptives for women. To maintain consistent protection, it must be taken daily for 28 days.
The experimental pill has already passed its first clinical trial with "promising results" to be presented March 25 during the Endocrine Society's 100th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
Clinical Trial Of Promising Male Pill
To test the safety and tolerability of DMAU, researchers conducted a double-blind study on 100 healthy male participants with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years old.
All of them were randomly divided into four groups. One was given placebo capsules containing either castor oil or benzyl benzoate, then the other three were asked to take varying dosages of the male birth control pills on a daily basis for 28 days.
Throughout the study, only a few participants complained about experiencing side effects and none of the cases can be considered as severe. Overall, nine claimed to have lost their libido while eight grew acne.
Additionally, even those who were taking 400mg of the experimental male pill did not report to suffer from any adverse effects. Instead, their data showed a regulated suppression of testosterone levels and two other hormones needed for spermatogenesis.
"DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily 'male pill,'" said Stephanie Page of the University of Washington and the study's lead researcher. "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."
A separate report an upcoming clinical trial with a new batch of male participants by April 2018. This time, the study will last for three months to investigate the effects of long-term use.
Hormone-Free Oral Contraceptives For Males
In Australia, another group of scientists at the Monash University is in an ambitious quest to develop a hormone-free male pill without any adverse effects.
However, instead of preventing the production of new sperm cells, it focuses on blocking their transport during an ejaculation. According to the makers, such method helps avoid future infertility issues.
Dr. Sab Ventura, the lead researcher, said that if development and trials turn out successful, the first hormone-free male pill may become available in the market in the next five to 10 years.