NIH Investigating Gel Formulation as Once-Daily Male Contraceptive

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 2, 2018

Investigator and NICHD Contraceptive Development Program chief Diana Blithe, PhD, said in a statement said, "Many women can not use hormonal contraception and male contraceptive methods are limited to vasectomy and condoms".

The gel formulation of the contraceptive was developed by the Population Council and the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) team. Most men are reluctant to adopt contraception for the sake of contraception and preventing unwanted pregnancies mainly because they do not get pregnant!

The gel is applied daily to the back and shoulders.

If it works, there may be hope for freedom from the pill for women - but it will likely be years before the male birth control gel could hit the market.

Dr. William Bremner, who will oversee the trial at UW alongside Page, says it's a "misperception" that men don't care about, or are afraid of, tools to control their fertility.

Male contraception has been a challenge for decades now.

Blithe said that the limited options for men led several couples to reach out in advance of the study asking to participate. Side effects, tolerability as well as sperm levels would be noted. The Council helped develop RU486, or mifepristone, a pill that can be used to end an early pregnancy.

Kenya among countries where new male contraceptive will be on trial
Before the gel was launched men relied on condoms withdrawal method and vasectomy for birth control

As part of the trial, men will apply the gel once every day.

Progestin - which is also found in most hormonal female birth controls - naturally blocks the action of the male hormone, testosterone, keeping the testes from producing sperm.

The drug is formulated as a gel since testosterone is cleared too quickly from the body when it's taken as a pill. The testosterone replaces the hormone in the blood. "The replacement testosterone maintains normal sex drive and other functions that are dependent on adequate blood levels of the hormone".

The researchers will track men for four to 12 weeks to ensure their sperm production has fallen significantly enough to prevent conception, with women using an alternative form of birth control just in case.

The couples will rely on the male gel as the sole method of contraception during that time.

The trial will be first launched in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Kansas City, Kan, before the test is conducted in Chile, England, Italy, Kenya, Scotland, and Sweden.

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