Male birth control pill showing promise in early trials

Early clinical trials show that a birth control pill for men may soon be a reality.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the new pill, called DMAU, is a combination of hormones — an androgen and progestin — and when taken daily could bring sperm count low enough so a man can’t get his partner pregnant.

The trials showed the pill can be given safely for more than one dose, but did not yet test for its success as contraception.

"DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily 'male pill,'" said the study's senior investigator, Dr. Stephanie Page, during the Endocrine Society’s Annual conference.

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The professor of medicine at the University of Washington explained, "Many men say they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development."

Previous attempts at developing an oral pill for men led to liver inflammation and toxicity, but according to Dr. Page that doesn't seem to be the case here.

"There was no evidence of liver toxicity. We did see mild weight gain and an increase in cholesterol levels and that may require us to fine tune the dosing, but overall we are very encouraged about the safety profile of dimethandrolone," she said in a report in MedPageToday.

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Following the safety trial, a three-month study will begin in April to determine if DMAU works as a contraceptive.

Dr. Page pointed out that, "Condoms are the only practical reversible form of male contraception — and it is more than 300 years old." The researcher added that studies indicate that men prefer taking an oral contraception rather than an injection or implant.