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‘Pill’ for men in offing as trials register huge success

A hormonal contraceptive for men is in the offing, following conclusions by researchers that the injectable drug is effective and safe for use.

Scientists testing the experimental contraception, whose results were published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism on Friday, said it was 96 per cent effective.

Only four out of the 320 men in the trial made their partners pregnant.

This is the closest the world has come to a male equivalent to female contraceptives like the pill and IUDs.

But while the shot was effective, side effects reported by some participants — including acne, mood disorders, muscle pain and increased libido — saw the trial end prematurely.

SUPPRESS SPERM

The shot consists of two hormones — progestogen, which affects sperm production by acting on the pituitary gland; and testosterone, to mitigate the testosterone-reducing effects of the progestogen.

For the past two decades, researchers have explored ways of suppressing sperm production without unpleasant or unbearable side effects.

Because men constantly produce sperm, high levels of hormones are needed to reduce levels from the normal sperm count of over 15 million per millilitre to under one million/ml.

“If you’re comparing it to other reversible male methods, it’s far better than the condom and it puts it in the same ballpark as the pill,” clinical reproductive scientist Richard Anderson from the University of Edinburgh, the UK, told The Guardian.