A revolution could be upon us: the first contraceptive pill for men without hormones has entered the phase of experimentation out of 16 volunteers in the UK. The drug is called Yct-529 and in the first tests it demonstrated effectiveness in 99% of cases, it has no side effects and is 100% reversible: this means that suspending treatment leaves no consequences in the male organism and full fertility is quickly regained.
How the birth control pill for men works
The drug Yct-529 was produced by the biopharmaceutical company YourChoice Therapeutics. The experimentation will serve to confirm the results of the experimentation clinic performed on mice. They will test themselves on human volunteers the effectiveness of the contraceptive in the long run, its tolerability for the body and its medium-term side effects once treatment has been discontinued. All this is also necessary in compliance with the protocols that will lead to the marketing of the product. The end of the tests is scheduled for May 2024.
Yct-529, it has been said, is the first hormone-free male contraceptive. Its peculiarity is precisely that of acting without influencing the testosterone. Male contraceptives with hormones that inhibit the production of testosterone have been in development for years, but these are drugs that have serious repercussions on health, sexuality and personality in general: “Testosterone does not completely block sperm production and they are ethnic differences. These contraceptives are associated with serious side effects, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, acne, mood swings, and decreased libido,” explained the YourChoice Therapeutics team.
Yct-529 inhibits the process of synthesis of the spermatozoa by blocking the retinoic acid alpha receptor at the basis of sperm production. The pill, in fact, induces a temporary sterility.
“The latest innovation in contraception was the hormonal pill for women. But that was more than 60 years ago. The world is ready for a male contraceptive and offering a hormone-free one is simply the right thing to do, considering the side effects that women have been suffering from for decades,” said Dr. Gunda Georg, professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and founder of the Institutes for therapeutic discovery and development. Yct-529 arrives at the culmination of twenty years of research led by Dr. Georg.
The crux of side effects in contraceptive drugs
The “pill” could bring not only a sexual revolution, but also a health one: it has been shown how the contraceptive pill can increase the risk of depression in women. The study was conducted in 2016 by Dr. Charlotte Wessel Skovlund of the University of Copenhagen. Over one million women between the ages of 15 and 34 were monitored for almost 15 years. The results associated taking the contraceptive pill in women under 20 with a +80% risk of receiving a diagnosis of depression. Another study correlated the use of contraceptives in women with a higher incidence of breast cancer.
Other experiments in progress
Yct-529 is not yet on the market, but it already has two competitors: in the USA the Endocrinology Society of Georgia is developing two male pills which, unlike the English pill, however contain hormones: DMAU And 11β-MNTDC they have hormones and progesterone to block sperm production.