Gel formulation of a new male contraceptive on trial

Desiree Burns
December 2, 2018

Investigator and NICHD Contraceptive Development Program chief Diana Blithe, PhD, noted in a statement how many women are incapable of using hormonal contraception, while men's methods are severely limited.

To use the gel, men simply have to rub it into their backs and shoulders, like lotion.

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine are joining a nationwide clinical trial to test male contraceptive.

Failure to use a condom at all or to use one properly is a primary reason that 45 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unwanted or unintended.

The gel is called NES/T and contains progestin, a hormone that can prevent ovulation during pregnancy.

Page has also been testing a male birth control pill, but up until now the only form of male birth control has been condoms and vasectomy.

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. "This would be an option for them".

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"The really pioneering thing here is there have been other studies of male hormonal contraceptive products but this is the first self-delivered method".

There are myriad forms of birth control for women and they often come with complicated and disruptive side effects.

The NIH researchers crafted the gel with the Population Council, a nonprofit group that works on reproductive health issues.

The contraceptive which men will be expected to apply on the upper parts of their arms everyday was deemed key in bringing a balance in bedroom affairs by making men equally responsible in family planning matters.

"(It's) a combination of two horomones: "Progestin, which is the typical horomone that is found in female contraceptive pills, which they put in there to suppress sperm production, to trick the body, and testosterone, which is the male sex horomone so that there's normal circulating levels of testosterone that men don't lose their libido or sexual function or have any changes in mood", said CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula. The testosterone replaces the hormone in the blood.

The treatment would continue for up to 16 weeks if the levels of the sperm counts have not declined with use.

During this phase the couple would have just the gel contraceptive as the only method of contraception.

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