Scientists are one step closer to a male birth control pill that has been reported to have “99 percent effectiveness and “no obvious side effects” in early testing.
Findings were presented at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society in California on Tuesday.
The researchers stated that they have been working on the pill because men’s choices for contraceptives have always been limited, according to a press release.
“Scientists have been trying for decades to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, but there are still no approved pills on the market,” said Abdullah Al Noman of the University of Minnesota, who has conducted research for the project.
Other Male Contraceptives Have Bigger Risks, Researchers Say
The researchers said that other contraceptives for men have bigger risks.
They also can be permanent, in the case of a vasectomy.
“Condoms are single-use only and prone to failure,” a release on their findings says. “In contrast, vasectomy — a surgical procedure — is considered a permanent form of male sterilization.”
Vasectomies can also be expensive and aren’t always successful, they said.
The researchers said that the goal of this particular pill is to minimize or eliminate the side effects of others.
Other male contraceptive pills target the important male sex hormone testosterone, which could lead to weight gain, depression, and increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, the press release said.
The goal is to create a “nonhormonal male contraceptive” that avoids these side effects.
They added that female contraceptive use has been on the decline because of side effects including weight gain, blood clots, and even death in some cases.
How the New Male Birth Control Works on Mice
The new nonhormonal male birth control pill targets a protein called retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR- α).
Removing this gene in male mice makes them sterile without any obvious side effects, the researchers found.
Human trials could start at the end of this year, the researchers added.
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