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Study: 'Male pill' proves 95% effective


From Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen

(CNN) -- A new male contraceptive, known as the "male pill," has proven 95 percent effective in stopping sperm production, preliminary test results show.

Dutch pharmaceutical company Organon on Monday released results of a study on the contraceptive conducted in Seattle, Washington, and Manchester, England.

In the tests, 30 men were given contraceptive hormones aimed at stopping sperm production. In 95 percent of them, the contraceptive worked. And in the resulting 5 percent who still produced sperm, they had negligible sperm counts.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports
icon 2 min. VXtreme video

Previous attempts to develop a male pill have failed because they weren't as effective, and they resulted in varying side effects, including aggressiveness and mood swings.

The old pills worked by manipulating testosterone levels, but Organon's contraceptive manipulates both testosterone and another hormone called progestogen.

Researchers say there are no side effects with the new contraceptive, which Organon hopes will be on the market in seven years.

However, the so-called male pill has to be taken daily, along with an injection every other week -- a procedure Organon believes most men will not want to follow. The company is working to make the contraceptive effective without the injections.

A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh found that most men polled said they would use the product if they didn't have to take shots and if it was effective.

"Sixty-six percent of men in Edinburgh said they'd probably or definitely use it if it was available -- if it was safe and reliable," said Dr. David Baird, who conducted the Edinburgh study.

But Organon also has to find the right audience to target. Why would a woman believe a man who said he was on the pill?

Organon says that's why they're going to market the product to people in long-term, monogamous relationships.

"You're not talking about young people with starting relationships or short relationships, but people in longer-term relationships where they can discuss these issues and take a joint decision about it," Organon's Dr. Bjorn Oddens said.


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