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Male Hormonal Contraception

Authors
  • Thirumalai, Arthi
  • Page, Stephanie T.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Medicine
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jan 27, 2020
Volume
71
Pages
17–31
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-med-042418-010947
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The economic and public health burdens of unplanned pregnancies are evident globally. Since the introduction of the condom >300 years ago, assumptions about male willingness to participate in contraception, as well as concerns about failure rates and side effects, have stagnated the development of additional reversible male contraceptives. However, changing attitudes and recent research advances have generated renewed interest in developing reversible male contraceptives. To achieve effective and reversible suppression of spermatogenesis, male hormonal contraception relies on suppression of testicular testosterone and sperm production using an androgen-progestin combination. While these may be associated with side effects—changes in libido, weight, hematocrit, and cholesterol—recently, novel androgens and progestins have shown promise for a “male pill” with reduced side effects. Here we summarize landmark studies in male contraceptive development, showcase the most recent advances, and look into the future of this field, which has the potential to greatly impact global public health.

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