A male contraceptive may be just around the corner in India, where scientists report they’ve completed clinical trials for a drug that’s injected into men’s groin.
All that’s left is for the Indian equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the birth control shot, which lasts for 13 years, the Hindustan Times reported.
Then, men can line up to be put under anesthesia to get a shot of synthetic material into their testicles to block off the tube that would deliver sperm to the penis.
If the drug can mount that final hurdle, it will be the first approved male birth control in the world, finally providing an alternative sterilization via vasectomy for men and the plethora of contraceptives used by women.
‘The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller,’ Dr RS Sharma, the senior scientists at the help of the project told Hindustan Times.
Dr Sharma told The Wire he’s been working on drug for a quarter of a century.
The scientist who developed the polymer that is the crux of the entire contraceptive treatment, Dr Sujoy Kumar Guha, has been working on it for even longer – 37 years.
In India, over half of couples use contraceptive, according to the Hindustan Times.
Sterilization is the most popular form of contraceptive, and is by and large done via tubal ligations performed on women.
Less than one percent of sterilization procedures there are vasectomies done on men.
In the US, 99 percent of women of reproductive ages have used contraceptives of some form at some point in their sexually active lives.
Currently, about 60 percent are using some method.
Over 70 percent of women that use contraceptives use forms that are not permanent, including the most popular form, the pill, or less widespread patches, injections, implants, rings and intrauterine devices.
About 22 percent of women have have undergone sterilization procedures. Just seven percent of the contraceptive-using population prevents pregnancy via male sterilization.
This means that in the US and India alike, women are by-and-large responsible for contraception and take on the side effects which include, for the most popular form, the pill: spotting, weight gain, mood swings, nausea, acne, breast swelling and tenderness and breakthrough bleeding between periods.
Male contraceptives had made it to clinical trials a few times in the US but those have ultimately failed or been called off because the side effects were deemed unbearable for the men.
The side effects are strikingly similar to those women experience while on birth control.
But the team at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has done something unprecedented: they’ve completed all three rounds of clinical trials with a large sample of men.
According to the Hindustan Times, the new injectable is 97.3 percent effective and Dr Sharma said the 303 participants reported no side effects.
If the drug gets ultimate approval, men will be put under anesthesia for the injection.
The polymer, known as reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) is then injected into the vas deferens, the tubule that delivers sperm from the testes to the penis where its released in ejaculate.
It eventually wears off, in about 13 years.
‘The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive,’ said Dr Sharma. (DailyMail)