A laboratory study at the Monell Center in Philadelphia has found that a common cholesterol drug might make men sterile. Similar chemicals are also sprayed on wheat and corn fields to kill weeds.
The scientists made the unexpected finding that the drug clofibrate, in a class of drugs called fibrates that doctors prescribe to bring down cholesterol, may deform sperm. Related compounds are also sprayed on farm fields to kill weeds.
“If our pharmacological findings are indeed related to the global increase in the incidence of male infertility, we now have knowledge to help us devise treatments to reduce or reverse the effects of fibrates and phenoxy-compounds on sperm production and quality,” says researcher Bedrich Mosinger. “This knowledge could further be used to design a male non-hormonal contraceptive.”