For years, birth control pills have been used exclusively by women. However, it seems that a change is on the horizon. According to a new study which was presented in Chicago at the Annual Endocrine Society Meeting, a male birth control pill that is safe and effective may be around the corner.
The proposed pill called Dimethandrolone Undecanoate or DMAU effectively reduces testosterone and other hormones responsible for producing sperm. The lead author of the study, Dr. Stephanie Page, who is an endocrinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, stated that “everyone’s goal in this field is to develop a method for men that have minimal side effects and the Holy Grail would be to develop something that also has a health benefit for men.”
Although, there are quite a number of options for women when it comes to birth control including hormone-based pills, injections and intrauterine devices, men have smaller options, which basically include vasectomy, coitus interruptus and condoms.
The new study relied on 83 men between the ages of 18 and 50, who received different dosage of the drug: 100, 200 or 400 milligrams. After taking the drug for 28 days, researchers found that testosterone in the blood dropped to castrate levels. Castrate levels which is the term used to refer to the target range of testosterone in the blood after chemical or surgical castration and it is usually tagged at 50 nanograms per decilitre.
Dr. Seth Cohen, an assistant professor of Urology at New York University said that the normal testosterone in a man is usually from 350 to 1,100 nanograms per decilitre but the men in the study had theirs at 13 nanograms per decilitre. According to Mayo Clinic, that low level of testosterone will only be found in prepubescent boys and girls not in adult men.
The study however only relied on results from a small sample of men, which is not sufficient to get it any approval from regulatory authorities anytime soon. However, Dr. Page said that a longer term research with the drug.
Another reason to be sceptical would be the fact that the new study has not been published in any peer-reviewed journal and until the community of scientists have the opportunity to pick apart the study, there will still be doubts about it.
Even though it is still a long way from the local pharmacy, it’s a welcomed move in the right direction.