A study testing a promising new male birth control was cut short when men experienced side effects, including acne, increase in libido and depression. Of course, women on Twitter are reacting as expected.
Men will experience mood swings with male birth control shots ..
— SUNNI (@SunniAndTheCity) October 31, 2016
"Male birth control 96% but study cut short due to negative side effects of mood swings and depression." Hahahahahaha oh boy where to begin?
— TRG (@TaylzoGallagher) October 31, 2016
The study was co-sponsored by the United Nations and included 320 men, who were injected with synthetic progesterone and testosterone to lower sperm count.
The male subjects were injected every four weeks. In 56 weeks, only four women got pregnant, which was a 96 per cent efficacy rate.
By comparison, condoms and the pill have 98 and 99.9 per cent success rate respectively in preventing pregnancy if used perfectly. But in reality (since none of us are perfect) their efficacy rate is more like 82 per cent for condoms and 92 per cent for oral contraception.
So this new male injectable contraception is considered really promising.
However, the study was cut short "following the recommendation of an external safety review committee." The reason? Concerns over the side effects, such as "reports of mood changes, depression, pain at the injection site, and increased libido."
"I immediately thought of the recent findings on female birth control," Elisabeth Lloyd, a professor of biology and philosophy at Indiana University Bloomington, told CNN. "Twenty percent or 30 per cent of the women who take oral birth control pills experience depression and have to take medication for it. So the difference just struck me. They terminated this study once it showed three per cent depression for the men."
Lloyd is referring to the results of a Danish study released last month that finally confirmed what women have long known: "use of hormonal contraception, especially among adolescents, was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and a first diagnosis of depression, suggesting depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use."
So can men start getting these injections soon?
“More research is needed to advance this concept to the point that it can be made widely available to men as a method of contraception,” the study's co-author Dr. Mario Philip Reyes Festin said in a press release. “The combination of hormones needs to be studied more to consider a good balance between efficacy and safety.”