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FSRH press statement: male contraceptive pill remains elusive
Posted 1 April 2019
Date: 01 Apr 2019
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
A male contraceptive pill can broaden choice, but further robust studies to evaluate effectiveness are needed.
A new study by the University of Washington, US, has reportedly shown progress in the development of an experimental male oral contraceptive (11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate or 11-beta-MNTDC).
Studies to develop a male contraceptive pill have been carried out in the past, and the public is interested in these alternatives. In 2017-2018, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) conducted a large participatory piece of research to try to understand the issues that contraceptive users and healthcare professionals mostly wanted research to address. Effective new methods of contraception for men ranked among the final top 10 list of research priorities in contraception.
Dr Diana Mansour, Vice President for Clinical Quality of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“We still do not have an effective male hormonal contraceptive pill. Evidence over the years suggest that some men would be interested particularly if they are in a long-term relationship. The main barrier for men is the concern about side-effects and how it will affect their sexual function.
"As a woman I would welcome a new contraceptive option for men and there are many men who would be prepared to use such a method. There have been decades of research in this area, but hormonal contraception for men remains elusive. This is partly because it is difficult to suppress sperm production as men produce 1,500 sperm each second. As we have seen in this preliminary study looking at oral 11β-Methyl-19-Nortestosterone Dodecylcarbonate, efficacy has not been proven, side-effects are common and long-term safety needs to be evaluated.”
Dr Sarah Hardman, Director of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“Male contraceptive pills are still a long way off. We welcome future male contraceptive options to broaden contraceptive choice, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done before a male contraceptive pill becomes a reality.
This particular paper reports that the study drug has the effect of lowering male hormone levels without significant unpleasant side effects during a month of use. However, the study has not confirmed that sperm production is adequately suppressed to provide effective contraception. We look forward to further robust studies that evaluate contraceptive effectiveness.”
Notes to editors:
- Read more about the study by the University of Washington here
- In 2017-2018, In 2017-2018, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) conducted a large participatory piece of research called the Contraception Priority Setting Partnership (Contraception PSP), which aimed to address the mismatch between what contraceptive users and healthcare professionals would like to know about contraceptive care and the research that is actually undertaken. The goal of this participatory research project was to create, by democratic consultation, a list of Top 10 research priorities in contraceptive care, put together by patients and clinicians. Effective new methods of contraception for males ranked #10. The Contraception PSP was led by FSRH and guided by the James Lind Alliance (JLA), a non-profit coordinated by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Find out more.
- The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.
For further information please contact:
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Manager