Journal Article

Combined Nestorone–testosterone gel suppresses serum gonadotropins to concentrations associated with effective hormonal contraception in men

Background
Novel male‐based contraceptives are needed to broaden family planning choices. A progestin, Nestorone® (Nes) gel, plus a testosterone (T) gel suppresses sperm concentrations to levels associated with effective contraception in normal men. However, administration of two gels on different parts of the body daily is impractical.

Objective
Compare the effectiveness of daily application of a single, combined 8.3 mg Nes‐62.5 mg T gel (Nes‐T) vs. 62.7 mg T gel to suppress serum FSH and LH concentrations to ≤1.0 IU/L (a threshold associated with suppression of sperm concentrations to ≤1 million and effective contraception) and to compare the pharmacokinetics of serum Nes and T concentrations between the gel groups.

Design
We conducted a 28‐day, double‐blind, controlled trial of 44 healthy men randomized to daily Nes‐T or T gel with measurement of hormones at baseline, treatment, and recovery and during 24‐h pharmacokinetic studies on days 1 and 28 of treatment.

Results
Of the subjects who met pre‐defined inclusion criteria, 84% of the Nes‐T group suppressed serum gonadotropin concentrations to ≤1.0 IU/L at days 21–28 vs. 16.7% in the T group (p < 0.001). On day 1, Nes concentrations rose significantly above baseline by 2 h and continued to rise up to 24 h after Nes‐T gel application. Nes concentrations were not detectable in the T group. Serum total T concentrations rose and were significantly higher in the T gel group compared to the Nes‐T group at 24 h on day 1 and days 11, 14, and 21 (p < 0.01). There were no serious adverse events in either group. About 80% of the subjects reported satisfaction with both gels.

Conclusion
Daily Nes‐T gel effectively and safely suppresses serum gonadotropins and is acceptable to most men. It should be studied further in efficacy trials of hormonal male contraception.