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Occasionally in the news or related information outlets one sees information about a male pill, eg (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). One claim which I have heard/read on multiple occasions is the following:

birth control for men could exist, but men won't accept the same side effects as women.

A pretty strong claim... and one for which I cannot find any evidence. (8) makes the claim pretty strongly, as do a number of other ones above. My question is simple.

Is there evidence to suggest that men will not accept side effects equivalent (or weaker) than those that women accept?

I know this can be a touchy subject. I would ask that any answers are fact/evidence-based. For complicated medical questions like this, news articles commenting on trials/research are not appropriate.


More details. The main basis for the claim seems to be twofold.

First, a recent trial (3, 4) was stopped due to the side effects. These side-effects result from female birth control too. Ergo men won't accept the same effects as women. Of course, this is awful logic. Just one of many issues is that there was no description of the severity, and didn't compare how often they were caused.

The other is that female birth control was introduced a long time ago when medicine did not have the same standards. As such, it has become societally acceptable over the years that women take birth control and that this has side effects. For a male pill, the side effects are too large for it to be approved now. (50 years ago, no problem.) Of course, this again is easy to debunk. The pills which women take today have to pass exactly the same test as the ones which men would take. The societal claim is fair, but this wouldn't ban drugs from being produced; it would merely mean that there would be little market for them, or that even if they were available men wouldn't want to take them.

(Incidentally, there is strong evidence that men want birth control options. I have only seen this claim referenced in articles, even articles making the claim in question have suggested this, but add comments like "would women trust men to remember?". So it seems as if men do want it; but I have not been able to find source material for this. It also sounds very reasonable that this was not the case in the past.)

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  • Those are very helpful, thank you. Apologies for not seeing and linking these; I didn't think of looking on Skeptics, and they didn't come up when I did Google searches. The first question is very similar, as you say. The answer sums up roughly as "basically, it's very hard to compare" – mathematician-in-the-making Mar 29 at 20:25
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    I don't have the source, so I won't make an answer. I found at some point that the tests of a male chemical contraception were canceled because of suicide among patients. Also, the product needed to be injected weekly, not just a pill to swallow. – MakorDal Mar 30 at 7:01
  • @MakorDal I think these results, abbreviated (I cannot attest to how well) in this summary are relevant to your comment – mathematician-in-the-making Mar 31 at 9:21

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