Tests on male contraceptive pill show promising results 

Scientists have been exploring the idea of a male contraceptive pill since the 1970s without much success. However, a new study has shown that a new type of contraceptive pill could be safe and effective for men in the future. 

The new pill is called TDI-11861. It can be used on-demand and lasts for several hours. It works by temporarily immobilizing sperm so they can’t swim with a single dose.

The study, which was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Nature Communications, found that a single dose could last for around three hours. After 24 hours, it had fully worn off and sperm were swimming normally. 

Unlike female contraceptive pills, this medication doesn’t contain any hormones, which had been a concern in previous pills as changes in testosterone can cause side effects in men. 

Instead of changing hormones in the body, it works by targeting a cellular signalling protein called soluble adenylyl cyclase or sAC and blocking it. 

The pill has been tested on mice, but still needs to be tested on rabbits, followed by humans, before it’s approved for use. 

Prof Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “There is a pressing need for an effective, reversible, oral contraceptive for men and although many different approaches have been tested over the years, none has yet reached the market.

“The approach described here, to knock out key enzyme in sperm that is critical for sperm movement, is a really novel idea. The fact that it is able to act, and be reversed, so quickly is really quite exciting.

“If the trials on mice can be replicated in humans with the same degree of efficacy, then this could well be the male contraceptive approach we have been looking for.

“They have done some tests on human sperm in the laboratory and it works in exactly the same way. So that, I think, really does open up the prospects that we can have some human trials.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *