The National Institutes of Health of the United States (NIH, for its acronym in English) has started a series of clinical tests of a new male contraceptive gel to evaluate its ability to prevent pregnancy, reports the official website of the organization.
The gel formula was developed by the NGO Population Council and the National Institute for Health and Development of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver (NICHD) of the NIH.
"Many women can not use hormonal contraception and the male contraceptive methods are limited to vasectomy and condoms, "said the head of the NICHD Contraceptive Development Program and one of the study's researchers, Diana Blithe." A safe, highly effective and reversible method of male contraception would have met an important public health need, "he said.
According to the report, the new gel, called NES / T, includes the progestogen compound, segesterone acetate combined with testosterone. It is applied on the back and shoulders and is absorbed through the skin. The progestogen blocks the natural production of testosterone in the testes, reducing the production of sperm at low or non-existent levels, explain the scientists. the testosterone replacement, on the other side, maintains normal sexual desire and other functions that depend on the appropriate levels of the hormone in the blood.
Researchers plan to study some of them 420 pairs. Male volunteers should use NES / T gel daily for a period of four to twelve weeks to determine if they tolerate the product and to ensure that they have no unacceptable side effects. If the sperm levels have not decreased correctly, they will continue to use the gel for up to 16 weeks.
Once the volunteer sperm levels have dropped to a sufficient threshold for contraception, they will enter the efficacy phase and will be able to assess the ability of the formulation to prevent pregnancy. This phase will last 52 weeks, when the only contraceptive method of the couple will be the new gel. Males will continue to be observed by investigators up to 24 weeks after the end of the NES / T application period.