In a preliminary study, researchers found that when men took an experimental pill every day for a month, the drug appeared to act in ways that could potentially block sperm production, and it seemed to be safe. The pill also contains a long-chain fatty acid called undecanoate, which slows the breakdown of the testosterone so that it remains effective all day in contrast to older editions.
Dr Stephanie Page, the study's lead investigator and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said the low levels are consistent with effective male contraception seen in longer-term studies.
The trials showed the pill can be given safely for more than one dose, but did not yet test for its success as contraception. Page explained that although the blood levels of the male hormones dipped, there were no symptoms of testosterone deficiency or excess.
Once the tests were completed, the researchers found that the men who were given the 400-milligram doses had significantly lower testosterone levels, with two gonadotropins, or hormones used in sperm production, successfully suppressed.
Page says a second study of DMAU will involve 100 men, 50 in Washington and 50 in California. It is being developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
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Plus the pills must be taken with food or they won't work. Daily oral administration of dimethandrolone undecanoate is well tolerated and is associated with reduced serum testosterone levels into the hypogonadal range, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, held from March 17 to 20 in Chicago.
A daily pill for males has always been elusive to pharmaceutical developers, as oral testosterone in previous forms may damage the liver or clear the body too quickly to work in just one pill per day. They believe that DMAU lowers the hormones needed to produce sperm enough to prevent men from getting their partner pregnant. It's 99 per cent effective when taken perfectly, Planned Parenthood wrote, but added that it's hard to do this. 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're often asked if there was a contraceptive if men would be interested in using it", Page said.
'Many men said they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development'.