A birth control pill that can be taken by men looks promising and safe, according to a study released this past week by researchers at the University of Washington and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.
The month-long study involved giving the oral contraceptive to 83 men between 18 and 50 years old on a daily basis.
At the highest dose of the drug, called DMAU, “subjects showed marked suppression of testosterone levels and two hormones required for sperm production, without showing change in mood or sexual function,” the researchers said in a press release.
“Providing men with a practical and reversible contraceptive option is long over-due,” said the lead researcher, LA BioMed’s Christina Wang. “Sixty years after the pill was developed for women, men will now have options – that neither require surgery nor long-acting injections – to participate in family planning as equal partners.”
The study showed low levels of testosterone – but the next step will be to see if that will translate to lowering sperm production.
“We are quite hopeful that this will be effective at suppressing the development of sperm,” said Dr. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at the University of Washington.
Page said another positive takeaway from the study was that the men didn’t feel bad.
“Despite the fact that the men had such low testosterone levels, they didn’t have profound symptoms of low testosterone levels,” Page said. “We’re delighted, actually, that the men tolerated the medication so well.”