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Saturday, 5 October, 2002, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Side effect fear over male pill
Contraceptives
The male pill could end use of other contraceptives
Concerns about possible side effects of the male contraceptive pill have been raised by a man who took part in a trial in Edinburgh.

Andy Figures, from Kirknewton in Midlothian, pulled out of the tests after developing painful rheumatic problems.

He is now suffering from a lung disease which could be linked to rheumatism.


Over the space of two or three days... everything just seized up.

Andy Figures
Dutch pharmaceutical company Organon, which is developing the product, said it was investigating Mr Figures' case.

However, a spokesman also stressed that no-one else involved in the trials had experienced similar symptoms.

Dozens of men volunteered for the trial, which is being carried out at Edinburgh University's Centre for Reproductive Biology.

It is part of a study of an implant which uses etongestrel, a form of progesterone used to block sperm production.

Mr Figures said he was left in terrible pain within weeks of having the implants fitted in August.

Seized up

"I felt the soles of my feet and my knees initially, just being very painful and very sore," he told BBC Scotland.

"Over the space of two or three days every joint - my ankles, my wrists, my fingers, my elbows, my shoulders - everything just seized up.

"I couldn't move them, I couldn't use them and I could hardly walk."

Andy Figures
Andy Figures took part in the tests
He is convinced that the pain, which got better after the implants were removed in October, was linked to the trials.

Dr Richard Anderson, who is involved in running the tests, said that such a link had to be considered, even though it would be very hard to prove.

He said that because the symptoms went away after Mr Figures ended the trials that "would tend to lead you to think that there may be a relationship between them".

"We need to work on the basis to prove that there isn't a relationship.

"We need to assume that there probably is until proven otherwise."

Worldwide trials

A spokesman for Organon said the company was aware of the case.

He said it was taking it seriously and investigating Mr Figures' claims.

However, he also stressed that there had been no other illness reported by the 500 men taking part in trials across the world.

The main side-effects were mood swings, weight gain and acne.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Aileen Clarke reoprts
"He wants to make sure that all the trial results are considered"
See also:

11 Jul 01 | Scotland
17 Jul 00 | Health
23 Feb 00 | Health
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