Birth control pill for men

Women can choose from a wide selection of birth control methods but there’s never been a pill for men. That’s not for lack of trying: for many years, scientists have attempted to formulate a male pill.

Finally, a group of researchers has taken a step toward that goal by tweaking some experimental compounds that show promise.

The researchers presented their work at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

One compound that’s been studied as a potential male contraceptive is testosterone. “At certain doses it causes infertility,” says Jillian Kyzer, a graduate student working on the topic. “But at those doses, it doesn’t work for up to 20 percent of men, and it can cause side effects, including weight gain and a decrease in ‘good’ cholesterol.”

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“It would be wonderful to provide couples with a safe alternative because some women cannot take birth control pills,” –  Gunda Georg

“It would be wonderful to provide couples with a safe alternative because some women cannot take birth control pills,” says Kyzer’s team leader, Gunda I. Georg, Ph.D., who is based at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Making progress

Drug companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), have created some experimental male contraceptives, but these have drawbacks. Although the optimal contraceptive for men remains elusive, Georg’s team has made some progress.

The researchers are gaining a better understanding of how tweaks to the chemical structure of their test compounds affect the substances’ cellular interactions in the body. The group continues to refine the chemical structures to achieve the ultimate balance of solubility, specificity and stability as they aim to design a better male pill.

Source: American Chemical Society via Sciencedaily.com

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