Results of a small study suggest that a newly developed birth control pill for men is safe and effective when used daily for one month. The experimental male oral contraceptive – dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU – combines two types of hormones, an androgen (testosterone) and a progestin, similar to those contained in birth control pills for women.
This study was conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle and presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago. Development of a safe, effective oral male contraceptive has been slow because oral testosterone clears the body too quickly and may cause liver inflammation. According to the researchers, undecanoate slows the clearance of testosterone enough to allow this pill to be safely taken once a day.
The study involved 100 healthy men, 18 to 50, 83 of whom completed the study. Researchers tested three different doses of DMAU – 100, 200, and 400 milligrams – and two different formulations (castor oil and powder capsules); they measured hormone and cholesterol levels on the first and last days of the 28-day study period. Men who received the highest dose showed “marked suppression” of levels of testosterone and two hormones necessary for sperm production. Long-term studies are now being conducted.