Recent studies into a male contraceptive injection have caused quite a stir around the country as one trial was stopped due to the side effects. But should the NHS pursue this research and should men have the option of having the injection in the future?
The male contraceptive is an injection which men would have once every two months, and aims to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
It is currently being trialled in the UK.
The injection contains two hormones:
- Progestogen – which is used to block sperm production by sending messages to the brain’s pituitary gland
- Testosterone – which is used to counterbalance the reduction in male hormones caused by the progestogen
This combination of hormones has been designed to lower sperm count and therefore reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
As part of a year-long trail, which involved 320 men, this proved to be almost 100% effective, making it as effective as the female contraceptive pill.
During the trial, four couples out of 266 became pregnant creating a rate of 1.57 per 100 users, while for women, the pill has a rate of less than one pregnancy per 100.
However some side effects did occur due to the injection, which caused the trial to be stopped prematurely.
The men who did pull out of the trial received little sympathy from American comedian Michelle Wolf, who branded them “little b**ches”.
The side effects included:
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Muscle pain
- Increased libido
All side effects were similar to those associated with the female contraceptive pill.
An expert opinion
Keivan Ahmadi, a senior lecturer in the school of pharmacy at the University of Lincoln, said: “I have had a look at the recent study [into male contraceptives] and tried to critically appraise the article – weighing out its strengths and weaknesses.
“I think the idea of using male contraceptives is theoretically sound and scientific.
“However, when it comes to practicality, there has not been much success from a safety and efficacy point of view.
“One of the studies had to be stopped prematurely because of the side effects of the male hormonal contraceptive injections.”
What are your thoughts on the male contraceptive? As a male reader, would you use it? Let us know your thoughts by emailing [email protected]