Male Birth-Control Pill Must be Made Booze Friendly

By Kenneth Garger 07/25/11

A promising male contraceptive pill blocks sperm production but will be unmarketable unless it can be made safe for happy hour.

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The Man Pill: Hold the vodka. Photo via

Responsibility for birth control has often fallen almost entirely to women. Sure, men use condoms, half-heartedly. And a tiny percentage of men get a vasectamy. But The Pill, first brought to market by pharmaceutical companies back in 1960—and setting in motion the Sexual Revolution—has proved to be generally safe, extremely effective and reliably reversible. Today, over 100 million women use it worldwide. Researchers in the US are currently toiling to develop an equally safe, effective and reversible contraception for men that would interrupt sperm production, maturation or mobility (or some combination of each). Trouble is, it needs to be booze-proof too.

According to a New York Times report, one promising experimental compound is being studied by Dr. John K. Amory at the University of Washington. Initially formulated to treat worm infections, the drug was found to induce temporary infertility in men. Amory, a reproductive health scientist, discovered through tests on rabbits that it was successful in disrupting the process of sperm production. However, one flaw in need of repair before pharma views the drug as marketable is that when mammals consume alcohol while on the drug, they get sick with Anatabuse-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, severe hangover). To help the sperm-blocker appeal to the red-blooded American boozehound, Dr. Amory is now working to make the drug “cocktail-compatible.” Of course, alcohol itself is one of the world's most time-honored aphrodisiacs. “The joke is, if it weren’t for alcohol, no one would need contraception," Amory told the Times. 

 

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Ken Garger is a reporter for the New York Post. You can follow him on Twitter.