Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
The majority of Australians are familiar with the Cancer Council’s mottos reminding us to “slip, slop, slap”, and that “there’s nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a controversial injectable tanning agent Melanotan is growing in popularity. But how safe is it, and can it safeguard us from the sun’s damage?
What is Melanotan?
Known as “Mel”, “MT” or “the Barbie drug”, Melanotan is a synthetic melanocortin, which is a hormone derived from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that controls growth and advancement.
It assists to accelerate the production of melanin, the pigment that takes in ultraviolet radiation and offers skin its colour. When provided by injection over the course of as little as a week, Melanotan has the effect of (semi-permanently) darkening the skin, as though tanned by the sun.
Established in the 1980s by scientists at the University of Arizona, Melanotan is primarily used for the treatment of skin disorders including vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that impact skin look and level of sensitivity (particularly to sunshine). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can help relieve the symptoms of these conditions and allow those detected to live a more normal life.
Nevertheless, Melanotan’s tanning capability and potential use as a “natural” photoprotectant (that helps to prevent damage brought on by sunshine) has also gotten much public interest, and resulted in its appropriation as a lifestyle drug.
The reasoning behind this pattern is that creating tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with very little to no sun direct exposure might protect individuals from skin damage, and even potentially lower cancer malignancy risk. More melanin suggests more protection from UV radiation, and therefore a much healthier (and conveniently, deeper) complexion. In this sense, there is perhaps a kernel of reality to the idea of the “healthy radiance”.
Is it safe to utilize?
Scientific trials of the safety and efficiency of Melanotan are continuous, however in 2008 the European Medicines Agency approved a mix of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for restricted prescription-only usage by those with specific skin conditions throughout the European Union.
There are no released medical trials of the drug amongst people without these conditions. This means its long-lasting effectiveness and safety for usage in the general population is unidentified.
In Australia, Melanotan use is uncontrolled. The drug is currently recorded in Set up 4 (prescription just medications) of the Restorative Goods Administration’s Poisons Standard, no items consisting of Melanotan are registered for use in Australia.
This implies while there are rumours of some practitioners recommending the drug, a lot of practitioners caution against– and will not prescribe– Melanotan for visual or way of life functions.
There are presently no population-based research studies on Melanotan to indicate the level of its use, however, there are reports of its increased off-label usage in the UK.
Most of users source the drug by means of “underground” online vendors at costs varying from A$ 30-50 for a one-month supply, and self-administer the injections at home. Users report a series of short-lived negative effects consisting of facial flushing, nausea, short-term freckling and darkening of moles, and in some males, spontaneous erections.
There is a possibility Melanotan may some day present a viable service to accomplishing a “healthy tan” in line with present western appeal ideals. It also produces new kinds of threat worrying needle safety, disturbing patient-practitioner relationships via uncontrolled usage, and the subversion of public health messages that groups such as Cancer Council Australia have worked for decades to promote.
Melanotan in WikiPedia
Melanotan II is a synthetic analogue of the peptide hormone α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) that stimulates melanogenesis and increases sexual arousal.
It was under development as drug candidate for female sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction but clinical development ceased by 2003, and as of 2018, no product containing melanotan II was marketed and all commercial development had ceased.
Unlicensed, untested, or fraudulent products sold as “melanotan II” are found on the Internet, and purported to be effective as “tanning drugs”, though side effects such as uneven pigmentation (it makes already uneven pigmentation more noticeable), new nevi (moles), and darkening or enlargement of existing moles have been reported and have led to medical authorities discouraging its use. There has been no scientific study into the long term and permanent side effects the use of this peptide may cause.
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