FAQs on Male Hormonal Contraceptives (MHCs)
SAFETY & SIDE EFFECTS
How long do I have to use a daily-administered MHC before it's effective for pregnancy prevention?
Unfortunately, it can take a little while for a man's sperm count to go down to levels low enough to effectively prevent preganancy. No hormonal methods work immediately and it can take up to 3 months among some men. Newer methods that combine androgens with progestins can drop the latency time by about 1 month, during which couples should be using another method of birth control.
Will MHCs be suitable and safe for adolescents or young men?
What are some of the side effects associated with using MHCs?
Do MHCs raise your blood pressure?
We know that giving topical testosterone (T) can increase a man's average blood pressure by about 2-3mmHg over time. However, how blood pressure will be impacted by MHCs that combine T and another progestin, is unknown. While elevations in blood pressure beyond 5mmHg have been associated with cardiovascular disease, we do not expect changes of this magnitude in our trials. However, we will be regularly monitoring the blood pressures of our participants. At this time we will not be accepting men with a blood pressure of 135/85.
Did you say INCREASED libido?
Yes, for some men, the use of a hormonal male contraceptive was reported to increase their libido. It's difficult at this time to explain why. It may have been related to the hormones in the drug, however it may also have been the idea of being on the drug. For example, men who receive vasectomies have also been known to report increased sexual satisfaction due to the additional confidence that they won't get someone pregnant and possibly what connection can be gained in their relationship from shared reproductive responsibility. While all this sounds good, we are still collecting data on increased libido as a possible adverse side effect because if it becomes a behavioral change that affects women in a negative way, we'd like to pay attention to that risk early.
Why use MHCs over any other male contraceptive methods, like condoms or vasectomy?
What forms of MHCs are currently being researched?
How effective is male hormonal birth control?
Is male hormonal birth control reversible?
HOW IT WORKS
I wasn't allowed to participate. Why so strict on the inclusion (trial entry) criteria?
Our clinical trials recognize that we have healthy human volunteers whose only risk is being part of the trial. We're not curing an individual's disease and so there's little to gain other than the satisfaction of supporting research in male contraception. Consequently, we have to maintain safety above all, being unwilling to risk worsening a condition or incurring an adverse event that may be related to the person's pre-existing health risk, rather than the study drug itself. Exceptions are rare and studies on other populations with specific conditions are reserved for later trials.
Why collect data on the female partner's menstrual cycle when you're studying male contraception?
In order to accurately calculate the effectiveness of a contraceptive method, you have to make sure the denominator makes sense. For example, if a woman isn't ovulating during the 12 months that she and her partner are in the trial, including those months in the denominator would make the drug seem more effective than it really is. So, collecting menstrual data helps us know if a woman is regularly ovulating. For the gel trial specifically, we're also looking for cases of the gel being transferred from partner to partner and if a woman would subsequently have cycle-related changes.
What is the normal range of days in a woman's menstrual cycles?
The normal menstrual cycle should last at least 21 days and no more than 35 days.
To be in the trial, couples are expected to be using a separate, reliable method of contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Does withdrawal or "the pull out method" count?
Withdrawal is not a recognized form of contraception by the CDC and WHO and thus cannot be used by itself during the trial. Even if it may confer less risk than not using anything at all, please make sure you're using another methods or abstaining unless otherwise instructed.