Only 'Wonder Man' Can Resist Male Contraceptive Shots
WebMD News Archive
"Adverse effects are inherent to these compounds, but they
were not really serious," Nieschlag asserts. "There was some increase
in body weight, and some complained of nightly sweating, but this was a dose
question. We think in later studies we can adjust the dose on an individual
basis to minimize these effects."
Ronald S. Swerdloff, MD, is the chief of the division of
endocrinology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, director of a World Health
Organization collaborative center in reproduction, and director of a Mellon
Foundation center for contraceptive development. He agrees with Nieschlag's
assessment of the "wonder man."
"In all forms of medication there are people that don't
respond -- that usually is of concern, but none of the available contraceptives
for men or women are universally effective," Swerdloff tells WebMD.
"There will be a failure rate with any form of contraception. In developed
countries, the ability to check sperm counts is desired until we get a better
understanding about the percentage of men that might be failures. Most studies
suggest that the [effectiveness] of this type of approach may be better than
any currently available male contraceptive methods."
The $64,000 question, of course, is whether men will use such a
"We think it will be acceptable," Swerdloff says. He
breaks the question of acceptability into three parts.
Will men be willing to participate in the family-planning
process? "All surveys done to date have suggested yes, but most of the
approaches to hormonal male contraception are designed for men in stable
relationships rather than multipartner males," Swerdloff notes.
Will women trust men to use contraception when they say they
do? "The focus on male-directed contraception without a clear-cut indicator
of effective compliance means that the groups that will be using this will
probably be stable couples where men and women trust each other for every
aspect of their relationship," Swerdloff says.
What delivery system will be most appealing? Different
formulations of male contraceptives are being studied. These include so-called
depot injections that slowly seep into the bloodstream, patches, and implants.
"These things are not so clear," Swerdloff notes. "Long-acting
depot injections have great appeal where compliance is a concern. It is not
selected in general as the most favored way of taking medications. But in a
situation where this is chronic use without a disease state, the depot
preparations in many people's minds are highly desirable. Ultimately there will
be several types of formulations that will come to market: some depot or
implantable, some more traditional oral or [patch] types of