Scientists have been on a mission to develop a safe version of the birth control pill for men for years, and they just got one step closer, according to Time.
Scientists working on the trial presented their findings at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Christina Wang from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) explains that the pill decreases sperm production.
Her research team recruited 40 men between the ages of 18 and 50. Of the 40 men, 30 were given low doses of the MNTDC (full name 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone-17-beta-dodecylcarbonate) while ten men were given a placebo.
How does the male birth control pill work?
The preliminary data collected suggests that the drug may prove to be an effective way to stop sperm production. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine explained:
“Since testosterone production is shut down in the testes, the androgen action in the rest of the body maintains ‘maleness’ elsewhere, supporting things like male pattern hair, deep voice, sex drive and function, and lean body mass.”
Even though the drug appears to be safe, some of the men experienced minor side effects. These include fatigue, headaches and acne. So basically, the same side effects women have to put up with, but I digress.
Male Birth Control pill approved.
Dear men … would you take it?https://t.co/fKdFPUmEYK
— Dianna Donnelly (@FinallyInspired) March 25, 2019
The results seem more promising than the 2016 trial. Volunteers exhibited worrying side effects during the initial phases, such as muscle pain, depressions, and an irregular heartbeat.
Despite the side effects, however, more than 75% of participants said they are willing to use this method of contraception once the trial was over.
The results of the 2019 test cycle shows promise. However, researchers say it will be some time before a drug like 11-beta-MNTDC will be available to men. The team will implement additional test phases.
The researches also still need to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition, they need to submit it for approval by the FDA once the additional phases have been completed.
Depending on the outcome of those tests, it should take about a decade before the male hormonal pill hits the shelves. Until then, it’s another decade of fatigue, headaches and acne for women.
Watch: Dr Stephanie Page