Contraceptives for Men

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Since the 1960s when the FDA approved Enovid-10, the first birth control pill, women have taken much of the responsibility for contraception upon themselves. Contraceptive options for men include condoms and vasectomies, but there has not yet been a hormonal contraceptive pill, injection or patch for men. That may be about to change, however. Several products are in development that may offer new options for men.

Hormonal contraceptives for men work by decreasing sperm count and consist of combinations of progesterone and testosterone. The progesterone blocks natural testosterone production which reduces sperm count, and the testosterone in the product acts as a replacement to maintain normal sex drive and other physiological functions.

An injectable male contraceptive was shown to be 96% effective, and reversible, meaning sperm count returned to normal levels for most men after discontinuing the medication. Unfortunately, the high incidence of side effects like acne, pain, and emotional disorders led to the discontinuation of the study. Source here

A contraceptive topical gel for men is in clinical trials by the National Institutes of Health and The Population Council. The gel would be applied to the back and shoulders every day, similar to currently available testosterone gels. This study is anticipated to be completed by July 2021. More here

An investigational contraceptive tablet for men appears promising in early phase studies. This product contains a single synthetic hormone called dimethandrolone that binds to both testosterone and progesterone receptors, so it may avoid side effects associated with low testosterone. More here

Another similar tablet in development is a modified testosterone called 11-beta-MNTDC that also has both testosterone and progesterone effects. More about that here

Researchers believe products may be available within the next 10 years.

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