Navigation Links
Male 'Pill' Still a Ways Off
Date:6/1/2010

Shutting down sperm production has proved complicated, experts say

TUESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- For half a century, women have had access to birth control pills. Men? Still waiting.

To date, no one has come up with an equivalent product for men, a male "pill" that would safely block or dramatically reduce sperm production.

Efforts are underway, however. Researchers are exploring potential hormone-based products that would provide effective contraception for men. Getting the product to market, though, could prove challenging.

"They can show that by using products that are already on the market and available, you can achieve the goal of male contraception," said Diana Blithe, program director for the male contraceptive development program at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "We know it's feasible. Whether or not a company will market [it] doesn't appear to be the case at the moment."

Research on a male birth control pill has lagged for a number of reasons, said Dr. John K. Amory, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Partly it's a matter of biology. The differences between men and women have made it easier to successfully research how to shut down female reproduction, Amory said.

"Women have a period in their life when they're not fertile, and that's when they're pregnant," he said. "Men don't have an analogous period in their lives."

The male reproductive system also is more active. "Men make 1,000 sperm a second. Women make one egg a month, mostly," Amory said. "It's harder to suppress that level of production."

Research has focused on the potential of testosterone to halt sperm production. Doctors have found that when the body is flooded with an excess of testosterone, sperm production halts. "It blocks the signals from the brain to the testes to create sperm," Amory said. Excess testosterone often causes sterility in male bodybuilders, he noted.

Other studies have looked into using progestin, a synthetic hormone used in female contraceptives, Blithe said.

"You're shutting down the body's normal production of testosterone," she said. "When you do that, you shut it down in the testes, but you also shut it down in the blood. But if you don't replace the concentration in the blood, a lot of other things get turned off, such as libido, ability to achieve erection and building muscle mass."

Attempts to create an oral pill using testosterone to shut down sperm production have not worked because the body absorbs the male hormone before it can get the job done. "It gets metabolized pretty aggressively by the liver," Amory said.

However, studies have found success through injecting the hormones or applying them through the skin.

Chinese researchers, for instance, have shown that injectable testosterone can be effective in male birth control. Once a month for 30 months, the doctors injected 1,045 healthy, fertile Chinese men, 20 to 45 years old, with 500 milligrams of testosterone undecanoate mixed in tea seed oil.

The contraception proved effective, with a pregnancy rate of just 1.1 per 1,000 men in a two-year span. Additionally, the men reported no serious side effects and returned to normal fertility after they stopped taking the injections. The findings were published last June in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Amory is part of a research team investigating another means of hormonal birth control for men -- a gel that would be applied to the skin. The team is enrolling men for the study, and results could be more than a year away.

Though both are promising avenues of research, Amory warned that people shouldn't get their hopes up about a male "pill" anytime in the near future.

"Everybody's been saying, 'within the next five years,' for the last 30 years," he said.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about existing methods of birth control.



SOURCES: Diana Blithe, program director, male contraceptive development program, Contraceptive & Reproductive Health Branch, U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Md.; John K. Amory, associate professor, medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle; June 2009, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Hissey Kientz, LLP Warns Birth Control Pill Users Of Increased Health Risks To Those Who Have Or Are Taking YAZ or YASMIN
2. A gimmick-free weight-loss pill in the works
3. The Pill May Decrease Bone Density
4. Sleep Study Shows Pillo1 Re-Educates Body to Naturally Move Into Optimal Sleep Position and Increases REM Sleep by 21.3%
5. New from Episencial: All Natural, Actively Healthy Skin Care for Babies, Kids and Planet Features Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
6. The Pill Offers Benefits Beyond Birth Control
7. Retraining Women's Minds and Bodies for Lasting Weight Loss -- Without Pills or Diets
8. Key Pillars of Patient Centered Medical Home Will Be Focus of March 30 Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Stakeholders Meeting
9. Xyngular™ Distributors Continue Waiting For Xyngular Xyng™ As Zija's XM3™ "Happy Pill" Reaches Record Sales
10. Fish Oil Pills Turn Back The Clock On Aging
11. For Tough Head Lice, Pill Tops Lotion
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/28/2017)... Illinois (PRWEB) , ... May 28, 2017 , ... ... , a medical scrubs and uniform distributor based in Lima, Ohio. The sale began ... features approximately one million units of medical garments, scrubs, uniforms, and medical accessories, including ...
(Date:5/27/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... A ... citizens who visit a doctor for colds or respiratory issues that are not responsive ... excessive time pressure on doctors may be largely responsible for the problem both in ...
(Date:5/27/2017)... ... May 27, 2017 , ... Most us are familiar with the ... study from the Osteoarthritis Initiative shows that certain people who experience consistent ... in advance may give doctors the opportunity to treat patients before the problem becomes ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... Fairfax, VA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 ... ... is pleased to announce a new educational seminar to focus on current legislative ... Regulatory News(LEARN) seminar will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, and will ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... delicatessen foods, is sharing bold recipes for Memorial Day entertaining that are sure ... , “Boar’s Head fresh sliced meats and cheeses featured in these refreshingly ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/10/2017)... , May 10, 2017 Global Health ... Latin America , published its 2017 ranking ... ranking is based on extensive data analysis from GHI,s ... largest hospitals database for the region. The GHI database covers ... , offering more than 130 data points for each institution ...
(Date:5/9/2017)...  Demonstrating its commitment to representing research- based ... Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today ... now have to meet new research and development ... join PhRMA. "By putting in place ... clear message that being a member of PhRMA ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017   Provista , a ... more than 200,000 customers, today announced Jim Cunniff ... wealth of executive and business experience to Provista, including most ... pharmacy in California . He assumed his ... "Jim is a great fit for Provista," says Jody ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: