Tuesday February 19, 2019

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.
  • 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

Next Story

Under Trump’s Rule, Women Will Lose Birth Control Coverage: Judge

The states argue that millions of women could lose free birth control services under the new rules.

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

A “substantial number” of women would lose free birth control coverage under new rules by the Trump administration that allow more employers to opt out of providing the benefit, a U.S. judge said at a hearing Friday.

Judge Haywood Gilliam appeared inclined to grant a request by California and other states that he block the rules while the states’ lawsuit moves forward. He said he would rule before Monday, when the rules are set to take effect.

The changes would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women by claiming religious objections. Some private employers could also object on moral grounds.

Gilliam said the new rules would be a “massive policy shift” to women who lose coverage.

Women, Birth Control
Margot Riphagen of New Orleans, La., wears a birth control pills costume during a protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 25, 2015. VOA

The judge previously blocked an interim version of those rules — a decision that was upheld in December by an appeals court.

The case is before him again after the administration finalized the measures in November, prompting a renewed legal challenge by California and other states.

At issue is a requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law that birth control services be covered at no additional cost. Obama officials included exemptions for religious organizations. The Trump administration expanded those exemptions and added “moral convictions” as a basis to opt out of providing birth control services.

Karli Eisenberg, an attorney for California, told Gilliam on Friday the loss of free contraceptive coverage from employers would force women to turn to government programs that provide birth control, and if they are ineligible for those, increase the risk of unintended pregnancies.

“It’s undisputed that these rules will create barriers,” she said.

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

The rules violate the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that forbids discrimination, she said.

Justin Sandberg, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, said the health care law already had exemptions for contraceptive coverage that left millions of women without the benefit. He said the birth control requirement was a “substantial burden” on employers with religious objections.

The rules “protect a narrow class of sincere religious and moral objectors from being forced to facilitate practices that conflict with their beliefs,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents.

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

The states argue that millions of women could lose free birth control services under the new rules. They want Gilliam to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the rules for the entire nation.

Gilliam questioned whether a nationwide injunction was appropriate. He noted that a federal judge in Massachusetts had ruled against a similar challenge to the birth control rules, but a nationwide injunction would nonetheless block them in that state. (VOA)