Finally, a male birth control pill has passed several tolerability tests after being used on healthy men every day for a whole month. The pill has the ability to produce hormone responses which can act as a proper contraceptive. The study results of Phase 1 were presented on 24 March at ENDO 2019 – which is the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society held in New Orleans.
The oral contraceptive has been called 11-beta-MNTDC or 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate. The drug is a testosterone which has been modified to perform the actions of both androgen, the male hormone and a progesterone, as per Christina Wang, M.D., the Associate Director of Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute (LA BioMed), Torrance, Calif.
According to Wang, due to the combination of both the hormonal activities, there will be a decrease in sperm production and hence, a lowering of libido.
The study was funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study was done on 40 men at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash and at LA BioMed. Ten of the study participants took placebo capsules. The other took 11-beta-MNTDC: 14 men took about 200mg, and sixteen men took about 400mg. The placebo drug was taken one with food for about 28 days.
The men who received the 11-beta-MNTDC, the testosterone level dropped as low as it drops in androgen deficiency, and the participants did not really suffer from any side effects. According to Wang, the side effects are mild and few – which includes acne, headache and fatigue. About five men claimed that their sexual drive lowered a little, and only two men claimed to have a mild erectile dysfunction though no change in the sexual drive was noted. As the participants did not stop taking the drugs even after having the mild side effects, they passed the safety test.
Low testosterone has minimal side effects according to Stephanie Page, M.D. According to her, 11-beta-MNTDC tries to mimic testosterone production in the entire body but does not concentrate on the testes, thereby lowering sperm production.
When the test results were compared to the placebo drug, it showed that there was a significant drop in sperm production. Plus, the effect reversed back to normalcy after the drug was stopped.
However, according to Wang, the drug is supposed to take about three 60 to 90 days course to bring in any change in sperm production. A 28-day trial is too small a period to yield proper results. Longer studies are being considered. There are plans to test it on sexually active groups too.
If everything goes well, it might be available within a decade.
Plus, there is no problem from the male population. About 55 percent of men who are in a proper relationship wishes to go for a new contraceptive method which is reversible. The 11-beta-MNTDC happens to be the sister compound of DMAU or dimethandrolone undecanoate which was one of the first probable drug for male birth control. The tests on that drug was performed by the same team. The results of that drug were also published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Page explains that their objective is to discover a compound that carries the least side effects but happens to be the most effective one. Both the oral drugs are currently being tested and developed so that we can make major leaps in this specific field.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed so that we can finally get a safe, reliable and reversible male birth control drug. It will not only take the medicine field further, but it will also effectively curb population growth.
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