Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
The majority of Australians recognize with the Cancer Council’s slogans advising us to “slip, slop, slap”, and that “there’s nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a controversial injectable tanning representative Melanotan is growing in popularity. How safe is it, and can it safeguard us from the sun’s damage?
What is Melanotan?
Referred to as “Mel”, “MT” or “the Barbie drug”, Melanotan is a synthetic melanocortin, which is a hormone stemmed from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that manages growth and advancement.
It helps to accelerate the production of melanin, the pigment that soaks up ultraviolet radiation and provides skin its colour. When provided by injection throughout just a week, Melanotan has the effect of (semi-permanently) darkening the skin, as though tanned by the sun.
Established in the 1980s by researchers at the University of Arizona, Melanotan is mainly used for the treatment of skin conditions consisting of vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that impact skin appearance and sensitivity (particularly to sunlight). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions and allow those diagnosed to live a more regular life.
However, Melanotan’s tanning ability and potential usage as a “natural” photoprotectant (that assists to prevent damage triggered by sunlight) has likewise received much public interest, and resulted in its appropriation as a way of life drug.
The reasoning behind this trend is that developing tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with very little to no sun exposure might secure individuals from skin damage, and even potentially lower cancer malignancy threat. More melanin implies more security from UV radiation, and therefore a healthier (and conveniently, much deeper) complexion. In this sense, there is maybe a kernel of truth to the concept of the “healthy radiance”.
Is it safe to use?
Clinical trials of the safety and efficiency of Melanotan are continuous, but in 2008 the European Medicines Firm authorized a blend of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for minimal prescription-only usage by those with specific skin conditions throughout the European Union.
There are no published scientific trials of the drug among individuals without these conditions. This indicates its long-lasting effectiveness and safety for usage in the general population is unidentified.
In Australia, Melanotan use is uncontrolled. The drug is presently recorded in Arrange 4 (prescription only medications) of the Restorative Product Administration’s Poisons Requirement, no products including Melanotan are signed up for usage in Australia.
This means while there are rumours of some professionals prescribing the drug, the majority of professionals caution against– and will not recommend– Melanotan for aesthetic or lifestyle purposes.
There are presently no population-based research studies on Melanotan to show the extent of its use, however, there are reports of its increased off-label usage in the UK.
The majority 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 in your home. Users report a series of short-term side effects consisting of facial flushing, queasiness, momentary freckling and darkening of moles, and in some males, spontaneous erections.
There is a possibility Melanotan may some day provide a practical solution to attaining a “healthy tan” in line with existing western appeal ideals. But it also develops new forms of risk worrying needle security, upsetting patient-practitioner relationships through uncontrolled use, and the subversion of public health messages that groups such as Cancer Council Australia have worked for years 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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