Gossypol is commonly derived from cotton (Gossypium spp.)
It was identified as an infertility agent in China during the 1950s.
It is a potentially toxic phenolic pigment.
US production is 50,000 tons p.a. as a by-product of cottonseed oil production.
Gossypol is nonsteroidal and acts by inhibiting sperm production and motility. It does not affect sex hormone levels or libido.
It targets a specific enzyme (lactate dehydrogenase X).
The usual daily dose is 20 mg for 2 - 3 months with maintenance doses of 75 - 100 mg twice a month. (3 g p.a.)
This effect may be permanent i.e. sterility.
However, it is also effective as a topic spermicide.
It has also shown activity against HIV and herpes viruses.
Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Nov, 1994.
Prusoff, W et al., Empirical and rational approaches for development of inhibitors of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1). Pharmacol. Ther. 1993, 60:315-329.
Wichmann, K et al., Inhibiting herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in human epithelial cells by gossypol, a potent spermicidal and contraceptive agent. Am. J. Obstet. Gyn. 1982, 142:593.
Wu: An overview of the clinical pharmacology and therapeutic potential of gossypol as a male contraceptive agent and in gynecological disease. Drugs, 1989, 38:333.
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