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Male Contraceptive Pill Found To Be 99% Effective In Mice. Human Trials Will Start Later This Year.

Male Contraceptive Pill Found To Be 99% Effective In Mice. Human Trials Will Start Later This Year.

The pill will be revolutionary as men have limited options available when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Scientists in the United States are working hard on developing a non-hormonal male contraceptive pill.

The pill has so far worked on mice in clinical trials and will be going for human trials soon. University of Minnesota researchers presented their findings at the American Chemical Society's Spring 2022 meeting in San Diego, California last month. The pill's advantage is that it does not target the male hormone, testosterone, hence avoiding risks of side effects that have prevented any form of male contraception from being popularized among the population, reports Vice.

 



 

 

Abdullah al Noman, one of the researchers, said at the conference, "Most female birth control pills work on the female sex hormones." He added, "[But] targeting the male sex hormone leads to a lot of side effects such as weight gain, depression and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases." He said that despite the target risk of unwanted pregnancies, men are not likely to take contraception that has significant side effects. 

According to NHS, women have several birth control options, ranging from pills to patches to intrauterine implants, and as a result, women face the majority of the burden of avoiding pregnancy. The development of a non-hormonal contraceptive pill for men will expand their role in preventing pregnancies and hence taking some burden off women.

 



 

 

Over the course of four weeks, the team of researchers led by Gunda Georg, Ph.D., administered male mice a substance called YCT529. They discovered that it significantly lowered the mice's sperm count while also being 99 percent successful at preventing pregnancy. After four to six weeks of being off YCT529, the male mice were fertile again. Georg said, "That’s very important—that you knock out the target (RAR-α), that you’ve achieved the desired effect but the mice are also viable and healthy." She added, "Of course, you have to be careful with this analysis because they are mice and not humans, but nevertheless the effect was very, very promising."

 



 

 

Clinical trials on humans may begin in the second part of this year. The business, YourChoice Therapeutics currently possesses the candidate drug's license. They are drafting the documents and applications for FDA clearances, which are required for clinical trials. Georg said that there is no guarantee that a drug that works well in animals would be as safe and successful in people. So, her team is looking into additional chemicals that might lead to a viable male birth control tablet.

References:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/jgm4m8/male-birth-control-pill

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2022/march/non-hormonal-pill-could-soon-expand-mens-birth-control-options.html

Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/TanyaJoy