According to researchers it is observed that a drug already being used to treat a rare genetic disorder may also be an effective male contraceptive. Researchers hypothesized N-butyldeoxynojirimycin, or NB-DNJ, which has been approved in Europe to treat Gaucher's disease, might work as a male contraceptive because it affects the metabolism of sugar-fat compounds essential for male fertility. They tested their theory in an animal study involving mice. The mice were given doses of the drug that were 10-times lower than those used to treat Gaucher's. The drug effectively altered the mice's sperm so that they were rendered completely infertile for up to six months. After they were taken off the drug, fertility returned completely to normal.
Since NB-DNJ is not a hormonal treatment, the sex drive of the mice was not impacted by the treatment. Few unwanted side effects were noted. Because the dose needed to induce infertility was so much lower than the standard dose given humans for Gaucher's disease, the investigators believe side effects in men would be negligible.
The investigators suggest this drug has significant potential to serve as a safe and effective a male contraceptive in humans. They write, "Considering the advanced status of NB-DNJ in clinical application, this compound could be rapidly evaluated for its suitability as a male contraceptive."