Saturday December 15, 2018

New male birth control pill found safe and effective

All participants passed safety tests, including markers of liver and kidney function, the study said

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Contraception
Male contraceptives proved safe and effective.
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  • Researchers have found oral contraceptive for males
  • The experiment has been successful
  • The pills are effective and successful in their operation

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 — called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU — appears to be safe when used daily for a month.

The pills are effective with no harmful effects. Wikimedia commons

Like the pill for women, DMAU combines activity of an androgen (male hormone) like testosterone, and a progestin, and is taken once a day, said 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,” Page pointed out.

Progress toward a male birth control pill has been stymied because, according to Page, 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.

Also Read: Injectable Male Contraceptive likely to Lower Unwanted Pregnancies

However, DMAU contains undecanoate, a long-chain fatty acid, which Page said slows this clearance. The study included 100 healthy men between ages 18 and 50 years. The investigators tested three different doses of DMAU — 100, 200, and 400 milligrams, or 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.

At the highest dose of DMAU tested, 400 mg, participants showed “marked suppression” of levels of their testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production. The low levels, Page said, were consistent with effective male contraception shown in longer-term studies.

These pills are revolutionary in the world of contraceptives.

“Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” Page said.

All groups taking DMAU did have weight gain and decreases in HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good”) cholesterol, both of which Page said were mild.

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,” Page said. “Longer term studies are currently underway to confirm that DMAU taken every day blocks sperm production,” she added. IANS

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Trump Can’t Deny Birth Control Coverage: U.S. Court

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit.

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birth control, contraceptive
A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, Calif. VOA

A divided U.S. appeals court Thursday blocked rules by the Trump administration that allowed more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.

The ruling, however, may be short lived because the administration has adopted new rules on contraceptive coverage that are set to take effect next month and will likely prompt renewed legal challenges.

Thursday’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerned changes to birth control coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued in October 2017.

States were likely to succeed on their claim that those changes were made without required notice and public comment, the appeals court panel said in a 2-1 decision.

USA, birth control
A man stands outside the main door of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco. VOA

The majority upheld a preliminary injunction against the rules issued by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam last year. It, however, limited the scope of the injunction, applying it only to the five states in the lawsuit and not the entire country.

Another federal judge also blocked the rules, and her nationwide injunction remains in place.

An email to the Justice Department seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Obama’s health care law required most companies to cover birth control at no additional cost, though it included exemptions for religious organizations. The new policy allowed more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing free contraception to women by claiming religious objections. It also allowed any company that is not publicly traded to deny coverage on moral grounds.

The Department of Justice said in court documents that the rules were about protecting a small group of “sincere religious and moral objectors” from having to violate their beliefs. The changes were favored by social conservatives who are staunch supporters of President Donald Trump.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

California filed a lawsuit to block the changes that was joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

“Today’s decision is an important step to protect a woman’s right to access cost-free birth control and make independent decisions about her own reproductive health care,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

‘Economic harm’

The states argued that the changes could result in millions of women losing free birth control services, forcing them to seek contraceptive care through state-run programs or programs that the states had to reimburse.

The states show with “reasonable probability” that the new rules will lead women to lose employer-sponsored contraceptive coverage, “which will then result in economic harm to the states,” 9th Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace, a nominee of Republican President Richard Nixon, wrote for the majority.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
Newer Contraception Tries to Engage Men. VOA

In a dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld said the economic harm to the states was “self-inflicted” because they chose to provide contraceptive coverage to women. The states, therefore, did not have the authority to bring the lawsuit, said Kleinfeld, a nominee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Also Read: To Diversify The Industry, Apple Pledges To Train More Women

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit. Under the new rules, large companies whose stock is sold to investors won’t be able to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage.

Wallace said the new rules did not make the case before the 9th Circuit moot because they are not set to take effect until January. (VOA)