The first male birth control pill

male control pill

Scientists from an Indonesian university claims they have developed a male birth control pill which is '99 per cent effective' and has few side effects. The pill, derived from an Indonesian shrub, apparently allows men to produce sperm that cannot get women pregnant.

The miraculous pill is made from a plant named Gendarussa, which has long been used by tribesmen on the island of Papua to prevent their wives from conceiving. A team lead by professor Bambang Prajogo of Airlangga University developed the pill after hearing rumours of these effects and bringing the plant to his lab for study in 1985. Thirty years later, they succeeded in isolating the active ingredient, putting it into a tablet form, and carrying out clinical trials to prove its contraceptive effects.

'The plant's active ingredient disrupts three key enzymes in sperm, weakening them and making them unable to penetrate the eggs during the fertilization process. This would not interfere with the quantity or quality of sperm produced because it only targets the enzymes' professor Prajogo told the Jakarta Post. He is currently working on the dosage, but hopes to create a formula meaning men would take the pill an hour before sex.

Small clinical trials conducted on 350 men found it to be 99 per cent effective. They also found male fertility returned to normal within a month of taking the pill. However some subjects gained weight on the pill and at least one participant saw an increase in two enzymes that indicate poor heart or liver functioning, although it was unclear whether this was due to the pill or another health issue, the expert said.
But overall, researchers found no obvious side effects, and 'certainly none that rival those associated with female hormone-based contraceptive pills'.

Professor Prajogo revealed that he has already turned down an offer of billions of funding from a major U.S. pharmaceutical firm, who wanted to buy his patent, which is owned by the University. He estimates that the pill could hit the shelves by 2016, although regulations mean it may take up to a decade longer to be sold in Europe and the U.S. But first, the Indonesian medicines regulatory body wants a bigger trial to verify the findings.

Scientists had tried for years to develop a contraceptive pill only for men. Untill now, the most promising project was led by the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in the U.S., who announced its trials of a new birth control injection were proving promising. The injection, called Vasalgel, is injected into the vas deferens - the tube that sperm passes through on the way to the penis. The gel acts to block sperm, thus preventing pregnancy. Developers hope it will be cheap, reversible and long-lasting and estimate to make it available within three years.

Similarly, last year Australian researchers said they had made a scientific breakthrough that could make a male contraceptive pill reality. Their technique worked like a temporary vasectomy, stopping sperm leaving the body during sex. This works by blocking two proteins involved in the ejaculation process.

But... the last word is given to ladies. In 2011, a survey by Anglia Ruskin University found that half of women would not rely on a male pill as contraception - because they did not trust their partners to remember to take it

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