A NEW male contraceptive pill could be on the horizon after it was successfully tested on humans.

Levels of two hormones required for sperm production dropped greatly when 40 participants used it daily for a month, compared to a placebo, researchers have found.

Doctors say the pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, decreases sperm production while preserving libido.

The experimental contraceptive, called 11-Beta-MNTDC, is a modified testosterone that combines the actions of the male hormone androgen and a female progesterone.

The study, at the Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute in California found testosterone level dropped in the 30 men who took the pill once a day for 28 days.

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Side effects were ‘few and mild’, according to the research but included fatigue, acne or headaches.

Following the success of the trial it is now hoped the researchers will be able to do longer drugs trials because the drug would take at least 60 to 90 days to sufficiently affect sperm production.

If the drug is then found to be effective it will move to larger studies and then testing in sexually active couples.

A multinational survey of 9,000 men in 2005 that found that 55 percent of men in stable relationships want to try new, hormonal male contraceptive methods if they are reversible.

The results of the study male contraceptive study could make interesting reading for many in Oxfordshire after health chiefs suspended vasectomies on the NHS across the county in a bit to save funds last August.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, is now considering whether to cut the procedure on the NHS permanently or whether to reintroduce the treatment to men who meet certain criteria.

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Speaking about the 11-Beta-MNTDC trial,  associate director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute co-senior investigator, Dr Christina Wang, said: "Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, will decrease sperm production while preserving libido.

"Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years."

Effects due to low testosterone were minimal, according to co-senior investigator, Dr Stephanie Page.

The professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine said: "11-beta-MNTDC mimics testosterone through the rest of the body but is not concentrated enough in the testes to support sperm production.

"The goal is to find the compound that has the fewest side effects and is the most effective.

"We are developing two oral drugs in parallel in an attempt to move the [contraceptive medicine] field forward."

The results were published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.