Men could be taking birth control pills soon after scientists said a study found an experimental oral contraceptive shows promise.
Taken once a day like its female counterpart, the pill – called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU – lowers levels of testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production.
As a result, men are not able to get their partners pregnant.
Men could be taking birth control pills soon after scientists said a study found an experimental oral contraceptive shows promise. File photo shows female pill
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle tested the pill at three different doses on 83 men, aged between 18 and 50.
At the highest dose of DMAU tested (400 mg), the men showed 'marked suppression' of levels of their testosterone and the two hormones.
Dr Stephanie Page, the study's lead investigator and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said the low levels are consistent with effective male contraception seen in longer-term studies.
Taken once a day like its female counterpart (pictured), the pill – called dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU – lowers levels of testosterone
The results also showed none of the men suffered the liver inflammation seen in previous versions of oral contraceptives.
The only physical side effects were some cases of acne and mild weight gain.
The results of the study, carried out with the help of Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, were presented at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago.
'DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily 'male pill,' Dr Page said.
'Many men said they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development.'
She added: 'These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill.'
Dr Page said longer term studies are currently underway to confirm that when taken every day, DMAU blocks sperm production.
The female pill is used by more than 100million women worldwide, but researchers have been trying to develop a male version for decades.