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September 7, 1984

Search for male contraceptive complicated by adverse effects

JAMA. 1984;252(9):1101-1102. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350090001001

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Although the famous "Pill" became generally available to women more than 20 years ago, no one so far has found a completely safe and effective male contraceptive agent. Whether based on steroid compounds that interfere with testosterone or on cytotoxic chemicals that interfere directly with spermatogonia, spermatocytes, or spermatids, the most effective methods under investigation also produce unacceptable side effects, often including impotence and loss of libido.

A thoroughly satisfactory, clinically tested solution still lies far down the road. But according to several researchers at the recent Seventh International Congress of Endocrinology in Quebec City, Canada, it may be possible to alleviate serious side effects of some of the most promising male contraceptive agents.

LHRH Antagonists  Many proposed methods suppress production of spermatozoa through action of synthetic hormones. For example, long-term administration of analogues to luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH, sometimes called GnRH or gonadotropin-releasing hormone), which normally stimulates secretion of