Currently, there are several methods of contraception available for women, while options for men have been limited to condoms or vasectomy. Scientist have now found what could be a male contraceptive pill, which is non-hormonal.
“We provide proof-of-concept for an innovative strategy for on-demand contraception, where a man would take a birth control pill shortly before sex, only as needed,” reads the experimental study published on Tuesday by researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine. “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.”
The new drug, tested on mice is an inhibitor that blocks a protein called soluble adenylyl cyclase or sAC for a couple of hours and in 24 hours, the sperm appeared to get back to normal. No side effects have been observed in mice and while in most experiments the drug was injected, scientists found it worked as well when taken orally. “Mice exhibit normal mating behavior, and full fertility returns the next day. These studies define sAC inhibitors as leads for on-demand contraceptives for men, and they provide in vivo proof-of-concept for previously untested paradigms in contraception; on-demand contraception after just a single dose and pharmacological contraception for men,” the study says.
Further studies are needed and scientists work towards human clinical trials, hoping in several years one can walk into a pharmacy and ask for the “male Pill”. This, is expected to be a single non-hormonal dose that works in under 1 hour and lasts between 6 to 12 hours.