The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. From investigations into an ancient African compound traditionally used to poison arrow tips, to a topical gel that is now undergoing human clinical trials, there are an intriguing variety of methods being investigated for male contraception.
Even though the researchers said they were "very excited" by the results, they haven't been testing it long enough to show whether it decreases sperm production, and they haven't shown whether it stops couples from conceiving. DMAU is developed by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, that also sponsored this study.
Researchers say attempts to develop male birth control pills have come up against roadblocks for years because the types of testosterone that can be taken orally could cause inflammation in the liver.
The low levels, Page said, are consistent with effective male contraception shown in longer-term studies. But the Melbourne researchers say that early laboratory tests show the drug has no impact on libido and other concerns raised.
The new pill is known by the chemical name dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU.
In a nutshell (sorry, couldn't resist), the pill lowers sperm hormones while not altering testosterone levels.
The tests revealed that the pill does not result in significantly negative side effects, but more research may be needed to further establish it as safe and effective.
This recent study for a once-daily pill for men was carried out with groups in Washington and California.
What's yet to be seen is whether the pill works over time.
There's a new contraceptive in town (well, not now, but possibly soon) and it aims to put the responsibility of safe sex square in the hands of men. Then they'll have to test it in men who are married or in other long-term relationships with women. She added that an effective oral contraceptive for men was hard to produce until now, due to the rapid metabolization rates of androgenous hormones by the male body. Stephanie Page, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and her colleagues observed that testosterone levels among patients who had received the highest dose of DMAU dropped to levels seen in medical castration for prostate cancer. DMAU "does have the promise of blocking sperm production", Courgi said.
As a result, men are not able to get their partners pregnant. Oral contraceptives are one of the medications most often used by Canadian women.