No-side-effect male birth control pill closer to reality

Hot on the heels of India's injection-based birth control for men that is 100% effective, lasts ten years and also turns every man into the perfect cook, masseuse and pedicurist — all true, folks! — comes the news of a birth control pill being developed here in the U.S. that's fast acting and has no side effects.

Dr. Debra J. Wolgemuth and her team of sperm-fightin' researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center are working on a pill that not only retards and renews sperm production after taking a pill or stopping to dose, respectively, but also has no apparent side effects to boot.

"It can be taken orally as a pill, avoiding the injection process. It also appears to have a very rapid effect on sperm production and an even more rapid recovery when fertility is desired," said Dr. Sanny S. W.Chung, on of the scientists on the project.

The work being done on the pill actually stems from another study: skin treatment research that was conducted by biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb but was shelved once the compound in question was found to be a "testicular toxin." A horrible side effect for a skin treatment procedure, but an excellent effect to be caused by Dr. Wolgemuth's birth control pill.

"We were intrigued," said Dr. Wolgemuth. "One company's toxin may be another person's contraceptive."

Unlike birth control taken by many women today, this pill for men would be a non-steroidal oral contraceptive, which in turn helps cut down on the side effects. It's still being tested on mice and the like and no humans have taken it, but Dr. Chung says that the "hope [is] that in the not so distant future, we may finally have more choices for people."

Columbia, via Gizmag

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