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Male birth control pills show 99% effective, to start human trials this year

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  • A new birth control pill for males has been found to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy in tests in mice
  • The medication could bring balance to the contraceptive burden, with fewer options available to men

Dudes, this is for you, rejoice! Scientists say that they might have created a birth control pill for men — and they could start human trials as early as this year.

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Gizmodo reports that researchers from the University of Minnesota developed the compound, dubbed GPHR-529, as a form of nonhormonal male birth control. In tests, they have been able to keep lab mice sterile for four to six weeks with 99% effectiveness.

With far fewer options available to men, the breakthrough medication could help to balance the contraceptive burden.

Scientists will present their findings at the American Chemical Society’s spring meeting on Wednesday, announcing the development of a new non-hormonal male contraceptive pill that effectively prevents pregnancy in mice with no obvious side effects.

While women can take multiple pills, use patches, or intrauterine devices, men can only use single-use condoms, which are prone to failure and result in largely irreversible vasectomies.

The reversal surgery is “expensive and not always successful”, the researchers said, showing the need for “an effective, long-lasting but reversible contraceptive, similar to the birth control pill for women”.

“Scientists have been trying for decades to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, but there are still no approved pills on the market,” Dr Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student in the Gunda Georg laboratory at the University of Minnesota who is presenting the work at the meeting, said.

Moreover, because the pill developed by the University of Minnesota team is nonhormonal, it may achieve the desired results without depleting men of their precious, precious testosterone.

The mice were no longer sterile after four to six weeks of not taking GPHR-529, according to the researchers. So, for men who take it, the effects should be temporary.

Even if it is effective, a commercially viable male birth control pill is still a long way off. However, it shows promise and could provide a compelling alternative to other experimental male birth control methods, which sometimes involve, well, heating up your balls.

There are several compounds undergoing clinical trials but they target the male sex hormone testosterone, which could cause weight gain, depression and other side-effects.

“We wanted to develop a non-hormonal male contraceptive to avoid these side effects,” Dr Noman said.

The team hopes to begin human clinical trials in the second half of this year.

Dr Georg, head of the medicinal chemistry department at the university, said: “Because it can be difficult to predict if a compound that looks good in animal studies will also pan out in human trials, we’re currently exploring other compounds as well.”

While there have been male birth control pills in development and human trials in the past, they frequently utilize hormonal treatments — a process that targets and diminishes testosterone — to achieve sterility, which can result in unwanted side effects like lowered sex drive and high cholesterol.

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