Researchers believe they have succeeded in developing a male contraceptive pill, after achieving “unprecedented” evidence in a clinical trial of dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU).
Researchers seem to have finally designed an effective male contraceptive pill, the side effects of which would be “minor”. In any case, this is the encouraging conclusion of a recent clinical trial conducted on dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU) by American researchers. It is more specifically a molecule combining a male hormone and a progestogen — a naturally secreted hormone in the middle of the menstrual cycle of women and which allows the maintenance of pregnancy.
This molecule has been tested on 100 men aged 18 to 50 years. Blood tests performed after 28 days revealed that the participants were no longer able to procreate, according to the researchers. “These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill,” said Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington and co-author of the essay. New studies have yet to be conducted, especially to see if the daily intake of this molecule is able to block the production of spermatozoa.
Many studies have been carried out on the subject. The development of a male contraceptive pill is one of the main domains of scientific research. Recently, a study published in the journal Plos One showed that a male contraceptive pill without hormonal side effects was now effective, at least on male macaques.
The researchers explained that a compound called EP055 slowed the overall mobility of sperm without affecting the hormones tested. “In simple terms, the compound EP055 prevents spermatozoa from swimming, which considerably limits their fertilization capacity,” explained Michael O’Rand, a retired professor of physiology and cell biology, also the lead author of the study. “This makes EP055 an ideal compound for achieving non-hormonal male contraception.”
The compound EP055 acts directly on the proteins found in the sperm. The research, which was conducted on male macaques, consisted in injecting them via an intravenous infusion a large dose of EP055. Thirty hours later, scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center found that the test subjects’ spermatozoa hardly budged, with none of the macaques having side effects.
EP055 is naturally eliminated by the body approximately two weeks after injection. “18 days after the infusion, sperm from the tested macaques had recovered full mobility, implying that the effects of EP055 are reversible,” said Mary Zelinski, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, also author of thestudy.
Currently, only condoms and vasectomy are a safe method of contraception for men without affecting their hormones. Clinical trials that target sperm production routinely affect men’s hormones for the time being, just as contraceptives affect women’s hormones.