Male hormonal contraception: potential risks and benefits

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2011 Jun;12(2):107-17. doi: 10.1007/s11154-011-9183-3.


An effective, safe, reversible, and acceptable method of contraception is an important component of reproductive health and provides the opportunity of shared responsibility for family planning for both partners. Female hormonal contraceptives have been proven to be safe, reversible, available and widely acceptable by different populations. In contrast, male hormonal contraception, despite significant progress showing contraceptive efficacy comparable to female hormonal methods during last three decades, has not yet led to an approved product. Safety of a pharmaceutical product is an appropriate concern but the majority of male hormonal contraceptive clinical trials have not reported significant short term safety concerns. While the absence of serious adverse effects is encouraging, the studies have been designed for efficacy endpoints not long term safety. In this review we summarize potential risks and benefits of putative male hormonal contraceptives on reproductive and non-reproductive organs. While the review covers what we believe will be the likely class of drugs used for male hormonal contraception a true assessment of long term risks and benefits cannot be achieved without an available product.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male / adverse effects*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Progestins / adverse effects*
  • Progestins / therapeutic use
  • Testosterone / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use


  • Contraceptive Agents, Male
  • Progestins
  • Testosterone