A hormone-free male contraceptive pill could soon become a reality.
Australian scientists claim the reversible treatment is 100 per cent effective and may be available in supermarkets in just five years.
The drug, being developed by Monash University researchers, will stop sperm from leaving the penis during ejaculation.
It blocks two key proteins in the brain that are responsible for releasing swimmers during a male orgasm.
And they claim that it could boost libido by dilating blood vessels – exactly how Viagra works.
’With this non-hormonal approach, sperm are unaffected so the contraception is likely to be readily reversible once the medication has been stopped.’
The idea of a male contraceptive has been touted for decades.
Women have called for trials as they have repeatedly demanded contraception shouldn’t be dished out to one gender.
However, trials of a male contraceptive have been hindered by the side effects, from irreversible damage to fertility problems and slashed libido.
The new drug, yet to be named, has been shown in early laboratory experiments to have no impact on sexual desire.
The preliminary trials also showed sperm remained healthy and viable, should men express a desire for children in the future.
Dr Ventura and his colleagues tested the effects of deleting two proteins that trigger the transport of sperm simultaneously.
Studies already show that blocking α1A-adrenoceptors and P2X1-purinoceptors can completely stop sperm from being released.
The researchers described the process of the contraceptive pill as just like blocking the chemical message to move swimmers.
If the findings prove true on humans, it means the drug shows more promise than some of the other options being floated by science.
There is already a widely-available drug approved for long-term use for enlarged prostates, called Flomax. It targets one of the two proteins.
But the Monash team would be the first to develop an oral contraceptive drug that can block the second protein.
They are now calling for extra funding to fast-track the process. They said the pill could be on the commercial market by 2023.