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India to market first male contraceptive injection in 2009

By Sreya Basu, IANS,

Kolkata : The first ‘Made in India’ male contraceptive injection is set to hit the market as early as next year with final trials under way to test the drug and rectify some minor side effects.

The injection – Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance (RISUG) – has already been patented in five countries including India, said its inventor Sujoy K. Guha, a biochemical engineering professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, West Bengal.

“We are in the last and final phase of the trials on RISUG and the results so far are positive. Already 250 people have taken the injection and after testing the drug on another 250 individuals, we will market it by end-2009,” Guha told IANS here.

Asked about the uniqueness of the drug, Guha said: “It is the only male contraceptive injection that has a prolonged effect for over 12 years. Also, one can potentially reverse the effect if he so desires.

“Besides I have developed a new molecule. This is the first time a polymer molecule is being used as spermicide.”

The injection consists of a polymer called styrene maleic anhydride, which renders sperm ineffective.

And what about side effects?

“The drug has no major side effects. However, during trials we found that after taking the injection, about 65 of the subjects developed temporary scrotal enlargements. But things were normalised within two weeks. We have researched on the method of injection that will check such minor effects,” Guha said.

The human trial of the contraceptive, backed by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), started 19 years ago in three centres in New Delhi and 20 other centres across the country.

“So far, the drug failed in the case of five out of 250 subjects during the trial and, that too, because of sudden body movements while the injection was being administered. As a result, the people were double-punctured. But if doctors are trained accordingly then 100 percent success of the drug is guaranteed,” Guha added.

The injection has already been patented in India, China, the US, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Guha stumbled upon the contraceptive while researching on a method to purify drinking water 30 years ago.