Male birth control gel set to begin human trials

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U.S. scientists are set to trial an experimental male contraceptive that if successful would fill an important public health need and pave the way for reproductive equality.

According to a press release from the National Institutes of Health, NES/T is a contraceptive gel whose primary compound is the progestin hormone Nestorone, which reduces sperm by blocking testosterone production in the testes.

The gel also contains a concentration of testosterone to maintain blood levels of the hormone, in order to ensure a normal sex drive and other functions.

The clear gel is applied daily to the back and shoulders, and absorbed through the skin.

To test its efficacy, researchers will study 420 couples for a year. The men will be tracked for up to 16 weeks to ensure sperm levels have declined, with women using an alternative form of birth control. Couples will then use the gel as the sole method of contraception for 52 weeks, to see if it does prevent pregnancy.

After the trials, male participants will be observed for several more weeks to check for any after effects, and make sure sperm production returns to normal.

Results from the trial are expected in 2022. If successful, it will need to be evaluated in a larger trial before it can obtain FDA approval and be available commercially.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Nestorone in male contraceptive gel blocks testosterone production to limit sperm
2. Replacement testosterone in blood maintains normal functions
3. Gel applied on back and shoulders
4. Details of clinical trial

VOICEOVER (in English):

"NES/T is a contraceptive gel whose primary compound is the progestin hormone Nestorone, which reduces sperm by blocking testosterone production in the testes."

"The gel also contains a concentration of testosterone to maintain blood levels of the hormone, in order to ensure a normal sex drive and other functions."

"The clear gel is applied daily to the back and shoulders, and absorbed through the skin."

"Researchers will be testing its efficacy by studying 420 couples for a year. Men will be tracked for up to 16 weeks to ensure sperm levels have declined, with women using an alternative form of birth control. After that, couples will rely on the gel alone."

SOURCES:
National Institutes of Health, University of Washington, CBS
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-evaluate-effectiveness-male-contraceptive-skin-gel
https://newsroom.uw.edu/news/1st-trial-launches-test-male-contraceptive-gel-efficacy
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/researchers-studying-effectiveness-of-male-birth-control-gel/