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The World in Medicine
January 8, 2003

Global Emergency Response

JAMA. 2003;289(2):164. doi:10.1001/jama.289.2.164-a

A drug recently approved in Europe to treat the genetic disorder Gaucher disease might someday find its way into the bedroom as a hormone-free male contraceptive, suggest animal studies led by researchers at the University of Oxford, in England (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;99:17173-17178).

Male mice that are given the drug, N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ), for up to 6 months become completely, but reversibly, infertile. Low doses of NB-DNJ (the equivalent to doses one tenth of those used for patients with Gaucher disease) caused defective sperm but had no effect on the animals' testosterone levels or sexual behavior. The mice regained their fertility during their fourth week off the drug.

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