Male Contraceptive Gel Tests Successful

male contraceptive vasalgel risug

MALE CONTRACEPTIVE GEL PASSES TESTS

Male contraceptive research is a popular topic, but has so far failed to generate any worth while success stories and successful products.  

CNN consequently announced that the male contraceptive shot had been discontinued due to the side effects persons in the tests were experiencing and the overall unhappiness with the project.  Most of the participants regained fertility after the test was concluded, but not all.  It was written off as a failure, but seems like it did provide a great deal of hope for the future.

In terms of a male contraceptive pill, THEGUARDIAN reported that:

A second challenge, for the male contraception, is that the hormones they normally rely on are quickly metabolised by the liver, meaning that it’s difficult to package the drugs in a pill form. Again, it is worth noting that most of men on the trial said they would be happy to go forward with the injection method.

Which doesn't bode well for creating a pill based delivery system.

At one time, a pill known as the "clean sheets" male contraceptive pill was showing promise.  The theory behind it was to eliminate the liquid (semen with sperm) during ejaculation but still allow the feeling and contractions of a normal ejaculation.  Some writers nicknamed it the "Dry Orgasm" pill. Researchers wondered if men would accept a product that completely prevented any liquid from being expelled during ejaculation.  Conflicting information exists that an actual pill doesn't exist; as no test product has been crafted.

In June of 2015, THE TELEGRAPH wrote about a great "new" male contraceptive coming called "Vasalgel".  At the time, they reported that it was a "polymer that’s injected into a man’s sperm-carrying tubes in his scrotum".  And they projected that it would be available in 2018-2020.

Cue up 2017 and the latest studies about this new male contraceptive.  

According to SCIENCE DAILY

Results of a study of Vasalgel in rhesus macaques have been published. Vasalgel is being developed by a social venture as a non-hormonal, long-acting, potentially reversible male contraceptive. It is a polymer hydrogel that works by blocking sperm in the vas deferens. Injection of Vasalgel in sexually mature adult male rhesus monkeys was effective in preventing conception throughout the one-plus year study period.

male contraceptive vasalgelFirst of all, the project started in rabbits and was successful.  Then researchers decided to switch to Macaques because they share more anatomic similarities with us (go figure – we have a lot in common with monkeys).  During the test, no female monkeys were impregnated by the monkeys with the vasalgel injections.  At the end of the test, another injection flushes out the gel and returns the patient to a fertile state.

As a result, it does not affect the level of hormones, or the sperm production, no visible or known side-effects were discovered as part of the test.  

 

There is a parallel study that has been occurring longer in India.  It is called RISUG, an acronym for Reversible Inhibition of male contraceptive vasalgel risugSperm Under Guidance.  Vasalgel is based on the research and testing of the RISUG product.  RISUG however, acts differently than Vasalgel:  "Within an hour, the drugs produce an electrical charge that nullifies the electrical charge of the spermatozoa, preventing it from penetrating the ovum," Dr. SK Guha said.

RISUG however, has over 250 adult participants — some for as long as 10 years!  But what makes RISUG incredibly interesting … and incredibly suspicious as to why it is not in the USA, is the cost:  "The shot itself costs less than the syringe used to administer it".  Yes, read that again – the shot of the gel-product costs less than the syringe.

The Indian researchers have also discovered "SMART RISUG" — a more temporary male contraceptive.  "When an external microwave applies heat to the polymer, is can liquify the polymer again to be excreted to restore fertility. Smart RISUG is therefore better choice for men who want to use RISUG as temporary birth control, since it does not require a second surgery to restore fertility."

As I continued to read about these male contraceptive products, I wondered why RISUG wasn't being pushed in the US, since it already had 10 years of study on the books.  Then I found it.  As a result of the Indian popularity, the rights to RISUG in the US were sold.  The patent belongs to Dr Guha of India.

Intellectual property rights to RISUG in the United States were acquired between 2010–2012 by the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, which has branded it as Vasalgel

Furthermore, before you get too excited, you should know that the product is still years away from FDA approval, and it isn't as easy as getting a shot.  "A further factor likely to impact numbers using this method is that Vasalgel still involves minor surgery to pull out the sperm tubes and inject the gel. What's more, when sperm are reabsorbed into the body, there is a risk of an immune reaction, potentially leaving men less fertile after reversal — similar to vasectomy, though risks with the gel are lower, according to Lissner" [from the CNN article].

Therefore the goal is a male contraceptive pill, because society is based on taking a pill for everything — and male contraception is no different.  The drag on the entire process appears to be funding.  Men do not seem to approach these projects with their checkbooks.

 

 

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