What’s the Connection Between Male Contraceptive Pills and Low Sperm Count?

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According to a new study, two experimental male contraceptive tablets appear to efficiently suppress testosterone without generating undesirable side effects. The findings will be presented at the annual conference of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

The pharmaceuticals, known as DMAU and 11b-MNTDC, belong to a class of medications known as progestogenic androgens. These medicines reduce sperm count by suppressing testosterone. Lowering testosterone levels is known to have unpleasant side effects, but the majority of the men in the research were prepared to continue taking the medicines, implying that the negative effects were tolerable.

“Male contraception options are currently limited to vasectomy and condoms, and thus are extremely limited when compared to female options,” said lead researcher Tamar Jacobsohn of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Contraceptive Development Program. “The development of an effective, reversible male contraceptive technique will improve men’s and women’s reproductive options, have a significant influence on public health by reducing unwanted pregnancy, and allow men to play a more active part in family planning.”

In two Phase 1 clinical trials, 96 healthy male individuals took part. The males were given two or four oral pills of the active medicine or a placebo daily for 28 days in each experiment. Testosterone levels plummeted below normal range after seven days on the active medication. Testosterone levels in individuals who took the placebo remained within normal limits.

In the trial, 75 percent of men who received the active medicine indicated they would use it again, compared to 46.4 percent of men who received a placebo. The four-pill daily dose (400 milligrammes) resulted in lower testosterone levels in men than the two-pill, 200-milligram dose. There was no significant difference in satisfaction with the medicine, readiness to take it again, or willingness to suggest it to others between the two active treatment groups.

“The public should be excited about male birth control becoming widely available in the next decades,” Jacobsohn added, citing men’s favourable experiences in clinical studies and high scores of acceptability for this male pill.