Male contraceptive tests nearly 100-percent effective, poses side effects

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 Photo by Matej Divizna / AFP / Getty Images


Photo by Matej Divizna / AFP / Getty Images

Hormone injections for men have proven to be an effective birth control method, according to a recent study.

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found the contraceptive was 96-percent effective when men received two hormone injections every eight weeks.

“If you’re comparing it to other reversible male methods, it’s far better than the condom and it puts it in the same ballpark as the pill,” Richard Anderson, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Test subjects did develop some side effects due to the high hormone levels needed to reduce sperm count. Mood disorders, depression, acne and other side effects caused 20 men to drop out of the study and stopped researchers from taking on new subjects in 2011, the BBC reported.

Despite side effects, about 75 percent of the men in the trial said they were willing to continue the contraceptive.

Scientists are conducting further research on the hormone doses as a way to limit side effects. They are also considering converting the shot into a gel that men could apply to their chests, The Guardian reports.

Researchers say it likely cannot be made into a pill because the liver metabolizes the hormone too quickly. The injection does not guard against STDs.

Some women praised the developments but encouraged researchers to continue developing the contraceptive despite the side effects.

“When it comes to contraception, medicine is clearly biased towards men,” Anna Rhodes wrote in the Independent. “Women have had to bear the responsibility of contraception since the pill was first launched in 1962 — and all of the side effects that go along with it.”

Just this year, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that women who used the birth control pill were 23 percent more likely to take anti-depressants.

The male hormone is still less effective than some forms of female birth control, such as the IUD and arm implants that prevent pregnancies 99 percent of the time.

Other women have also pointed out a less tangible barrier to a male contraceptive — trust between sexual partners.

“There’s the lack of female trust towards men – the feeling that women (the ones who must after all deal with pregnancy) couldn’t entrust such an important matter to men, who may lie in the moment to get sex,” columnist Barbara Ellen writes in a recent op-ed responding to the male contraceptive study.

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