Female Futures

Game-changer: this male contraceptive pill may soon become a reality


Thoughts, feelings, concerns?

It’s hard to believe that a long-awaited change in contraception may be within our grasp with early trials of a male pill deemed a success for the first time in history. Let’s take a moment to applaud.

Dimethandrolone undecanoate AKA DMAU is a once-a-day tablet that has been trialled by the University of Washington on a group of 100 men aged between 18 – 50. Similar to current female contraceptive pills, the DMAU contains a combination of synthetic hormones, namely an androgen (like testosterone) and a progestin (synthetic progesterone).

83 of the participants have completed the study so far with the majority reporting no fatigue or loss of libido. Deemed safe and effective by experts, this trial lacks the negative side effects – such as liver damage (eek) and a low sex drive – present in other male contraceptive trials.

Participants in this study did report weight gain and a drop in their good cholesterol levels, however according to the senior investigator on the study, Professor Stephanie Page, the side effects are relatively minor and are no cause for concern. “Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” she said.

Male contraception has been a major talking point over the last couple of years with a range of male contraceptive trials attempted. However, issues with these tests have been serious, with male subjects experiencing unwanted side effects such as mood swings, bad skin and weight gain – sound familiar anyone?

According to The Debrief polls in the UK have shown that approximately 50% of males would take a male pill if it became available. 19% said they definitely would not use a male pill, while 31% were unsure. Further studies are now underway to determine whether DMAU can operate long-term. So… watch this space!

Words: Ella Francis.
Photos: Getty Images.