Why Men Quit A Male Birth Control Study

Fun fact, in case you didn't already know: there is an experimental form of male birth control in the form of an injection, and studies for its effectiveness and physical side effects are underway. Some of those findings are super baller — for instance, it turns out that this injection has a 96 percent success rate (compared to the 99.9 percent success rate of female oral contraceptives). That being said, a number of men quit the male birth control study because — drum roll, please — they couldn't handle the mood swings that the birth control gave them.

The research was conducted by the University of Edinburgh, and included 320 male participants between the ages of 18 and 45 who had female partners between the ages of 18 and 38. The study involved injections every eight weeks that suppressed spermatogenesis, and the injections were taken over the course of 56 weeks. At the recommendation of an external safety review committee, the injections were halted early, primarily after the dropout of 20 men from the study.

"Of these 20, 6 men discontinued only for changes in mood and 6 men discontinued for the following single reasons: acne, pain or panic at first injections, palpitations, hypertension, and erectile dysfunction," wrote the researchers of the study. The other eight men also dropped out for changes in mood.

OK, OK, now that the internet has gotten its cheap shots in, we also have to respect that it is a very real reason to stop taking medication. I mean yeah, every menstruating woman has had to deal with mood changes since the dawn of menses — but also, it takes noticing side effects like this to perfect the birth control before it hits the market. And the more they understand about its effects, the closer it gets to being a real thing you can buy. In the words of Mario Philip Reyes Festin, a researcher from the World Health Organization and one of the study's authors, said, "The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraception for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it. Our findings confirmed the efficacy of this contraceptive method previously seen in small studies."

So sometimes bad news is also good news! Or slightly inconvenient, but nonetheless promising news. The study's authors continue by adding that "male participants and their partners found this combination to be highly acceptable at the end of the trial, even after being made aware of the early termination of the study intervention," and that over 75 percent of the participants were satisfied with the idea of using this method for birth control. Of course, more studies will have to be conducted before it hits the market, but to quote my favorite internet meme: Soon.

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