The study demonstrates that two experimental male contraception pills successfully lower testosterone.
A new study presented at ENDO 2022, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta, Georgia, suggests that two experimental male contraceptive pills appear to successfully reduce testosterone without causing unacceptable side effects.
The drugs, DMAU and 11-MNTDC, are categorized as progestogenic androgens. These medications reduce testosterone, which reduces the number of sperm. Lowering testosterone levels often has unpleasant side effects. However, the majority of the men in the trial were willing to continue taking the drugs, indicating that the adverse effects were acceptable.
“Male contraception options are currently restricted to vasectomy and condoms, and are thus extremely limited as compared to female options,” said lead researcher Tamar Jacobsohn of the Contraceptive Development Program at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Development of an effective, reversible male contraceptive method will improve reproductive options for men and women, have a major impact on public health by decreasing unintended pregnancy, and allow men to have an increasingly active role in family planning.”
The study consisted of two Phase 1 clinical trials with 96 healthy male participants. For 28 days, the males in each trial were given either two or four oral pills containing the active drug or a placebo. Testosterone levels fell below normal after seven days on the active drug. The testosterone levels in the placebo-taking men remained within the normal range.
The study found that 75% of men who took the active drug said they would be willing to use it in the future, compared with 46.4% of those taking a placebo. Men who took the four-pill daily dose (400 milligrams) had lower levels of testosterone than those taking the two-pill, 200-milligram dose. There was no significant difference between the two active treatment groups in satisfaction with the drug or their willingness to use it in the future or recommend it to others.
“Men’s positive experiences in clinical trials and high ratings of acceptability for this male pill should serve to excite the public about male birth control being potentially widely available in the coming decades,” Jacobsohn said.
Meeting: ENDO 2022
The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.