Researchers develop gel to deliver male contraceptive

Doctors at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute have completed a study demonstrating that their novel gel delivery for male contraceptive significantly lowered sperm counts in test patients and resulted in minimal side effects.

Teaming with the University of Washington, LA BioMed's Christina Wang concocted a gel containing testosterone and two formulations of the male contraceptive Nestorone. In a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the researchers studied the gel on 99 men, giving one-third a placebo and two-thirds the contraceptive combination, and they got some positive results.

Of the men who received the drug, about 89% had a sperm concentration of under 1 million per milliliter after 6 months--about 15 million is considered normal by the World Health Organization--while only 23% of the placebo recipients reached that level. Depending on dosage level, between 78% and 69% of the men had a complete absence of sperm by the end of the study.

Those results show hope for eventually marketing the gel formulation, the researchers said. "Up until now, the responsibility for contraception has traditionally always been with the female," Wang said in a statement. "With these new contraceptive methods for males, the responsibility will be shared. While this gel has great potential and minimal side effects, it does warrant further study as a male contraceptive."

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