Men in a study who took the “male pill” every day for a month had their sperm “react in ways that could potentially block” its production.
The drug, called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU, is the latest development in the push toward creating a male version of the more than 50-year-old female birth control pill, the study’s author said.
“We know that when we give it to 100 people, it seemed OK,” endocrinologist Robert Courgi, who was not involved with the study, told LiveScience. “Let’s see what happens when we give it to 10,000 people. If it’s as mild as it seems to be, this can come to fruition.”
Other forms of the male pill have entered testing phases before, but with failures, according to the study, which was presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting. One earlier pill left the body too quickly, for example, meaning men would’ve been tasked with taking a pill twice a day for it to work. But the new pill proved effective in suppressing testosterone and two other hormones required to produce sperm. The 100 men in the trial also didn’t suffer from any symptoms of testosterone deficiency.
Some side effects experienced by a small number of the men included small weight gains, a slight drop in “good” cholesterol and a decreased sex drive. But, the researchers noted, many more women experience these and other symptoms from various birth control pills — but the oral contraceptives still remain popular and tolerable.