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La contraception masculine « verte »: mythe ou réalité ?

“Green” male contraception: is this a myth or reality?

Résumé

Le refus des solutions « chimiques », souvent jugées suspectes, mène un nombre croissant de contemporains à rechercher une alternative naturelle chaque fois qu’elle existe. Le domaine médical — et en particulier celui qui concerne la reproduction — échappe d’autant moins à cette aspiration qu’il s’y trouve des bases historiques multimillénaires. Il a également des justifications économiques dans tous les pays où l’accès aux médicaments est problématique, sinon illusoire. La contraception masculine n’est pas oubliée dans ce contexte; en particulier dans les pays émergents où la natalité élevée pose un problème de société. Des principes actifs extraits de plantes ont fait — et font encore-l’objet de recherches très circonstanciées. Il existe de bonnes raisons de penser que des solutions existent dans ce registre. Des tests menés in vivo chez l’animal (surtout), mais aussi in vitro sur des spermatozoïdes isolés concluent à l’existence d’effets centraux, périphériques ou spermicides significatifs. Les vertus thérapeutiques souvent multiples des plantes concernées mènent toutefois à rester vigilants pour ne pas associer, en cas d’utilisation systémique, un effet secondaire indésirable à l’effet contraceptif recherché.

Abstract

Rejection of “chemical” solutions, often considered as suspicious, is leading an increasing number of people to investigate natural alternatives whenever they find them. The field of medicine — and more specifically that concerning reproduction-is not exempt of that endeavour, which dates back thousands of years. It also has financial implications in countries where access to medication is problematic, if not impossible. Male contraception is not forgotten in this context; in particular in emerging countries, where a high birth rate has a negative impact on society. The main active plant extracts have been — and still are — the subject of very focused research. There is strong evidence to suggest that there are solutions which exist in this area. In vivo animal tests (on the whole), but also in vitro tests on isolated spermatozoa have highlighted the existence of significant central, peripheral and spermicidal effects. When being used systemically, care must always be taken to ensure that the often multiple therapeutic qualities of the plants concerned do not result in undesirable side effects from the contraceptive effect sought.

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Correspondence to J. -M. Debry.

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Mots clés

  • Contraception masculine
  • Extraits végétaux

Keywords

  • Male contraception
  • Plant extracts