A male contraceptive pill may be on the market sooner than you think, as human trials are set to begin soon.
So far, the pill has proven safe and effective on mice, with clinical trials in humans set to begin later this year.
Last month, researchers from the University of Minnesota presented their findings at the American Chemical Society’s Spring 2022 conference, Vice reports.
What sets their pill ahead of the rest is the fact it does not target testosterone, the male sex hormone. This means the risk of side effects is far less than other drugs which have never made it to pharmacy shelves.
Noting the lack of male oral contraceptives on the market, researcher Abdullah al Noman explained: “Most female birth control pills work on the female sex hormones.
“Targeting the male sex hormone leads to a lot of side effects such as weight gain, depression and increased risk of cardio vascular diseases.
“Men are less willing to take a birth control pill that has significant side effects. That’s why we are targeting a non-hormonal pathway to developing a male birth control pill.”
Over a period of four weeks, the team of researchers, led by Gunda Georg, Ph.D., gave male mice a compound called YCT529, which they found dramatically reduced the mice's’ sperm count as well as being 99 percent effective against preventing pregnancy.
Most importantly of all, the substance did not cause any observable side effects and the male mice became fertile within four to six weeks of being taken off YCT529.
Georg said: “That’s very important... that you’ve achieved the desired effect but the mice are also viable and healthy.
“Of course, you have to be careful with this analysis because they are mice and not humans, but nevertheless the effect was very, very promising.”
After such a successful round of trials on the mice, human trials could begin as soon as the second half of this year, according to Georg.
Pharmaceutical company YourChoice Therapeutics is currently preparing the documentation and application for approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration in order to get the ball rolling for clinical trials.
Of course, there’s no way to ensure that the drug will be safe and effective in humans, so Georg and her team are working round the clock to explore other compounds that may also lead to a male birth control pill finally hitting the market.
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