LivingNew contraceptive pill for men: soon in trials

New contraceptive pill for men: soon in trials


Currently, there are several contraceptive methods available to prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. However, the contraceptives available to men are reduced to condoms and vasectomy (reversible or irreversible). A new study may offer an expansion of this range of possibilities.

Promising results in mice

Through a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and the start-up responsible for producing the pill (YourChoice Therapeutics), a study has been carried out on mice to test the effectiveness of a contraceptive method for men . The results were presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in March.

The main authors of the study summarized the results obtained in mating experiments with mice, which are very promising . In these experiments, there was a group of male mice that received this pill orally every day for several weeks. After four weeks, the pill was 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

In addition, the effect of this pill is reversible, since the contraceptive effects were lost a few weeks after withdrawing the compound . This occurs due to the mechanism of action of the active compound contained in the pill, which is limited to a temporary effect. If this effect is confirmed in humans, the reversibility of the pill would be one of its main advantages.

The mice receiving this treatment did not show any side effects or visible symptoms during the course of the experiment. The only change the researchers noticed was the sperm count in the semen. Although the absence of side effects in mice is very promising, it cannot be guaranteed that this will be the case in humans .

This study presents a contraceptive alternative for men with numerous advantages. However, several studies have tried to develop a male pill in the past and all have failed. Why is this pill superior to the previous ones? What is your mecanism of action?

Hormone-free birth control pill

Most of the past research to develop a male pill had followed the strategy used in the female version: hormones. A wide variety of birth control pills containing hormones related to the menstrual cycle are available to women . These methods are very effective, but they also have numerous side effects .

Having a high contraceptive effectiveness in women, an attempt was made to develop a male pill using hormones . However, these studies were not successful due to the presence of side effects , according to the volunteers who participated.

In this new study, a non-hormonal option has been chosen by creating a molecule that blocks the retinoic acid receptor , based on previous research. Retinoic acid is a compound derived from vitamin A with numerous functions in the body. The absence of secondary effects when blocking this receptor (alpha) may be due to the fact that there are other alternative receptors (beta and gamma).

Due to the very positive results, the researchers are optimistic that human trials could begin as soon as this year 2022 . However, researchers are already working to develop an improved version of this pill that targets multiple versions of the receptor and can lower the dose. A lower dose could present an advantage in the event that side effects appear in humans.

Considering that highly effective birth control methods already exist, why is it necessary to move forward with this trial?

More alternatives in fertility

Oral contraceptive methods for women , despite numerous side effects, are widely used to prevent pregnancy . Effective, reversible, side-effect-free birth control methods for men have been needed for several decades, and if successful in clinical trials, this would be the first of its kind.

This pill would become a useful alternative for family planning , but it would also give men the opportunity to share responsibility and make decisions about their fertility . Although pregnancy is limited to women, both men, women, and non-binary people, have the right to have these types of tools. The male pill would fill a gap that has been empty for far too long.

Although phase 1 trials begin this year, we must expect the pill to reach pharmacies in approximately five years . If the results in humans confirm what was observed in animal models, we may be looking at the new male pill.


American Chemistry Society (ACS). March 23, 2022. Abstract: A non-hormonal pill could soon expand men’s birth control options. Press release.

Presentation of preliminary results at the ACS congress. March 23, 2022.

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