Millions of women around the world use contraceptive pills as birth control but there are still unwanted pregnancies out there. To salvage the situation, men would also now have an option to take a drug that prevents pregnancy, thanks to a male contraceptive pill that is being developed towards that regard.
The drug, yet to be named will block sperms from leaving the penis during ejaculation, researchers at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences have said. The Melbourne scientists said the drug which increases libido is about to enter what could be the final stage of development. It would work by blocking two proteins that cause sperms to be released, according to the lead researcher Dr Sab Ventura.
“It just stops the contraction of the muscle which would normally be moving sperms along. So the sperms are fine, they haven’t been touched, they’re still completely normal, they just haven’t been moving at the right time,” he was quoted by news.com.au. He said if the final stage of development is successful, trials would then commence and the pill could be on the market within five years.
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The development of a male contraceptive pill has over the years been affected by side-effects on fertility, birth defects and libido. But the Melbourne researchers say that early laboratory tests show the drug has no impact on libido and other concerns raised. According to Dr Ventura, he and his colleagues were “moving closer to developing a convenient, safe and effective, non-hormonal oral male contraceptive that can be readily reversed”.
“We aim to do this by developing a combination of two drugs that simultaneously block sperm transport rather than disrupt sperm development or maturation.”
“It’s pretty different. Most of the other ones that have been tried have been affecting hormones or genetics.”
For now, even though the Male Contraceptive Initiative has provided a $US150,000 grant for the scientists to move into the next phase of developing the drug, Dr Ventura said how quick the pill is developed and released would depend on more funding.
“The faster the money comes in, the faster it will happen,” he said.