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Male Birth Control Shots Get the Job Done With Side Effects

An experimental birth control for men that makes use of shots have been found to help effectively in lowering the sperm count for preventing pregnancy, as per a new study.

Though, the study had to be terminated early because there were several side effects observed in the men who were administered the shots. Some of the side effects included mood disorders like depression, according to the study. The publication of the study was made on the 27th of October in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings indicate that more rigorous research is necessary before this contraceptive method is sold in the market, according to Dr. Mario Philip Reyes Festin, the co-author of the study.

Male Birth Control Shots

Even though the injections were found to be effective in preventing pregnancy, more studies need to be conducted to strike a proper balance between safety and efficacy with the combination of hormones used in the shot, according to Festin.

Birth control techniques for women in different forms, like intrauterine devices (IUDs), rings, patches, and pills, have been in the market since years. But the options available for men are only limited to withdrawal at the time of intercourse and condoms, which can turn out to be ineffective at many occasions, according to the researchers. Vasectomy, in case of men, is an invasive method which cannot be reversed.

The new study incorporated about 320 participants falling under the age group of 18 years to 45 years from seven different countries, namely United Kingdom, Italy, Indonesia, India, Germany, Chile, and Australia. The entire sample was monogamous, and in long-term relationship with a woman, and none of them as a couple had any type of condition that could prevent pregnancy.

The men were given hormonal shots that continued for a year. The shots were of two major hormones, known for controlling the production of sperm. Both of them together were also used for reducing side effects. Two separate shots were administered to the participants.

The goal of the researchers was to reduce the concentration of sperm to a limit of 1 million sperm/millilitre, or even less. A fertile man should at least have a sperm concentration of 15 million sperm/millilitre.

The sperm production reduced in 96 percent of the participants who remained in the study. The results showed that the effectiveness of the shots in lowering rate of pregnancy was similar to that of the hormonal contraception used by women.

When the administration of the shots was discontinued, about 95 percent of the men could see their sperm count return back to their normal levels in a period of one year. A few of them had to wait for more than a year to return back to normal.

Overall, about 75 percent of the participants involved in the study were willing to use this contraception method in the future if it was made accessible to the general population.

Some men experienced side effects like pain at the injection site, acne, mood disorders, and increased sex drive. Most side effects were mild to moderate in nature, but the study was abandoned in the year 2011 because of the mood related side effects, like depression.