For couples that were hoping a male contraceptive injection was not too far away, studies have linked the product to depression and stopped the associated clinical trial.
Controlled studies have shown the product to be as effective as the female birth control pill with only 4 of the 266 men who participated in the study becoming fathers. This is a 96% effectiveness rate which is directly comparable to it’s female equivalent.
The product works by using hormones to dramatically lower the sperm count and requires the male to be injected in the shoulder only every 4-8 weeks. The shot consists of two hormones: progestogen, which affects sperm production by acting on the pituitary gland, and testosterone, to mitigate the testosterone-reducing effects of the progestogen.
For couples, especially those with women who prefer not to take synthetic hormones the product could bring many practical and emotional benefits. Others however have objected to and/or questioned the product for reasons including whether men would be trusted to take it and that people outside of monogamous relationships would use it whilst forgoing protection for STD.
The study has shown a high incidence of depression and subsequently been stopped despite that three quarters of those on the trial said they would happily continue to use the product Other noted side effects include acne, injection site pain, and increased libido.
Some doctors have argued that the study should not have been stopped as many women suffer similar side effects from the birth control pill yet it has been approved without this consideration.
While there are currently no male contraceptives on the market – with the exception of condoms – there’s no shortage of research in the area. One of the most publicised efforts is a drug called Vasalgel, which is currently undergoing clinical trials and – provided testing pans out – could be available to the public as early as 2018.
For more information on the study click through to the The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism which originally published it.
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