New male contraceptive ‘lasts hours and could be more effective than current birth control’ | The Sun

CONTRACEPTIVE pills for men may be a step closer, a study suggests.

Researchers found the drug was 100 per cent effective at stopping pregnancy in male mice after the first two hours.

But its effects had worn off entirely a day later, laying the foundations for a short-term drug for men to use instead of condoms.

Dr Melanie Balbach, of Cornell University in New York, said: “A man would take a birth control pill shortly before sex, only as needed.”

Scientists have been trying to develop a male contraceptive pill for years, but efforts so far have stumbled due to low effectiveness and bad side effects.

Some pills targeting the male sex hormone testosterone have been found to increase the risk of obesity and depression.

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Current alternatives are limited to condoms — which can only be used once and are not full-proof against pregnancy — and vasectomies that are expensive to reverse.

The latest study, published in Nature Communications, tested a drug that blocks an enzyme called soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) that helps sperm to move efficiently.

Researchers injected the as-yet unnamed medicine into healthy mice and allowed them to mate for two weeks to test how effective and safe it is.

It reduced the chances of pregnancy by 91 per cent after the first three hours.

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But, unlike other potential drugs, the effects had completely worn off after 24 hours, suggesting it has potential as a short-term contraceptive, the team said.

Dr Balbach said: "Our inhibitor works within 30 minutes to an hour.

"Every other experimental hormonal or non-hormonal male contraceptive takes weeks to bring sperm count down or render them unable to fertilise eggs."

While the drug was injected for the experiment, early findings suggest it could work just as well when taken as a pill.

Researchers found no negative health impacts when the drugs were continuously given for six weeks.

Further studies are needed, but if the drug development and clinical trials are successful, the researchers hope it could lead to "the male pill" being made available at pharmacies.

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