Male birth control pill closer to becoming a reality

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By Jacqueline Cutler | nydailynews.com

man-pillViagra may soon get a much-needed partner — a male birth control pill.

Roughly 18 years after Pfizer’s erection tablet hit the markets, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy scientists said Monday that they are closer than ever to developing medication to create temporary male sterility.

It’s promising news — but before men can start popping the Pill, a lot has to happen.

A male contraceptive must be configured into oral form; it must not decrease libido; it must be safe, even if taken for years; and, most important, it must be reversible in case a man wants to be a father later on, according to Gunda Georg, research team leader.

“That’s a very high bar for bringing a male contraceptive to market,” Georg said in a statement.

The Minnesota scientists studied two compounds that target male fertility which were developed by global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb — and found that while it was possible to make them more effective, the side effects could be drastic.

Pharmaceutical companies have been trying to create a male Pill for a while — with most trying to control sperm production by using testosterone, which has obvious shortcomings.

“At certain doses, it (works),” Jillian Kyzer, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota who has been working on the so-called “male Pill,” said about testosterone in a statement.

“But at those doses, it doesn’t work for up to 20% of men, and it can cause side effects, including weight gain and a decrease in ‘good’ cholesterol,” she added.

The birth control pill for women went on the market in 1960. Today, 17.5% of women between 15 and 44 are on it.

Men are eager for their own version, according to polls.

Last year, a British paper found that 52% of men said they would take a daily birth control pill.

Of course, whether women would believe men when they say, “Trust me, I’m on the pill” is another story.

Another problem? If condom use drops, STDs could spike.

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