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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

This New Male Birth Control Drug Contains No Hormonal Side Effects At All

This New Male Birth Control Drug Contains No Hormonal Side Effects At All

For decades, we've lived in a world where birth control drugs are only available for women.

This has created an unbalanced situation that's unfair to both parties: the onus for taking birth control falls on women, while men have no drugs available to them to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
A new era of male birth control is right around the corner — and a newly-developed contraceptive drug may be the most promising option yet.

Let's look at the current landscape.

Just a few years ago, male birth control options seemed like a fantasy, but researchers have developed a host of options for men in recent years.
While none are currently available to consumers, it's only a matter of time.

One option is undergoing clinical trials.

It's a simple gel that gets rubbed onto the upper arms and shoulders. The gel contains hormones, progestin, and testosterone, that inhibit sperm and prevent the egg from being fertilized. If the trials are successful, it could hit the market in 2022.

There's also a pill that isn't available just yet.

Known as dimethandrolone undecanoate (try saying that three times fast), the pill contains hormones and fatty acids. When ingested, it does what it's designed to do: prevent sperm from effective fertilization.

There's a problem with these options, though.

They both contain hormones. This isn't necessarily a big deal, but it can cause a hormone imbalance, which in turn can lead to side effects like weight gain.
The newest drug being developed, causes no hormonal changes whatsoever.

The new drug contains a special compound.

This compound, known as EP055, binds to sperm proteins, effectively making them bad swimmers. Therefore, the sperm is impeded and can't fertilize the egg.

It's a great option for non-hormonal contraception.

Lead investigator Michael O'Rand described the compound, saying in a statement, "Simply put, the compound turns off the sperm's ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities."

The drug lasts a fairly long time, too.

Researchers say that, after ingestion, the compound is effective for up to 78 hours, giving it a window of a day or two in which it's effective.

It causes no hormonal imbalance and no long-lasting side effects.

This is big news, considering other male contraceptive options all affect the hormones in one way or another.
That said, there's still a big catch.

We probably won't see this drug in pharmacies anytime soon.

Although researchers have found it to be safe and effective, they're still early on in the process. It's only been tested on macaques so far.

The approval process for pharmaceuticals is long and rigorous.

Before any drug hits the market, it has to be approved. Before it's approved, it needs to undergo several rounds of clinical testing on humans. Simply put, we're not there yet.

Still, it's an exciting development — and a sign of things to come.

Considering the number of male birth control options that are currently under development, it stands to reason that great options will be available soon.

These options are far less invasive than a vasectomy.

It's always worth noting, however, that birth control can prevent unwanted pregnancies, but not sexually transmitted diseases.
So with that in mind, condoms are never a bad choice!

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