In a major step forward in the development of a once-daily “male pill,” researchers have found an experimental oral contraceptive to be safe in men with hormone responses consistent with effective contraception. The findings presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago showed that the new pill, oral contraceptive, called dimethandroloneundecanoate, or DMAU — appears to be safe when used daily for a month.
Like the pill for women, DMAU combines activity of an androgen (male hormone) like testosterone, and a progestin, and is taken once a day, says the study’s senior investigator, Stephanie Page, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“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, Progress toward a male birth control pill has been stymied because, available oral forms of testosterone may cause liver inflammation, and they clear the body too quickly for once-daily dosing, thus requiring two doses a day. The study included 100 healthy men between ages 18 and 50 years. The investigators tested three different doses of DMAU — 100, 200, and 400 mg
A total of 83 men completed the study, including giving blood samples for hormone and cholesterol testing on the first and last day of the study. All participants passed safety tests, including markers of liver and kidney function, the study said.
“These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill, Longer term studies are currently underway to confirm that DMAU taken every day blocks sperm production,” she added.