Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
The majority of Australians are familiar with the Cancer Council’s slogans advising us to “slip, slop, slap”, which “there’s nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a questionable injectable tanning representative Melanotan is growing in appeal. How safe is it, and can it safeguard us from the sun’s damage?
What is Melanotan?
Called “Mel”, “MT” or “the Barbie drug”, Melanotan is an artificial melanocortin, which is a hormonal agent derived from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that manages growth and development.
It assists to speed up the production of melanin, the pigment that absorbs ultraviolet radiation and offers skin its colour. When delivered by injection throughout as low as a week, Melanotan has the impact of (semi-permanently) darkening the skin, as though tanned by the sun.
Developed in the 1980s by scientists at the University of Arizona, Melanotan is mainly used for the treatment of skin disorders including vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that affect skin appearance and sensitivity (especially to sunlight). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can assist ease the signs of these conditions and enable those diagnosed to live a more regular life.
However, Melanotan’s tanning ability and possible usage as a “natural” photoprotectant (that helps to prevent damage caused by sunshine) has likewise received much public interest, and caused its appropriation as a way of life drug.
The reasoning behind this trend is that creating tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with minimal to no sun direct exposure might safeguard people from skin damage, and even possibly lower melanoma danger. More melanin indicates more protection from UV radiation, and for that reason a healthier (and conveniently, much deeper) skin tone. In this sense, there is perhaps a kernel of reality to the idea of the “healthy glow”.
Is it safe to use?
Medical trials of the safety and effectiveness of Melanotan are ongoing, but in 2008 the European Medicines Agency approved a blend of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for restricted prescription-only use by those with specific skin conditions throughout the European Union.
Nevertheless, there are no published clinical trials of the drug amongst people without these conditions. This means its long-term efficacy and safety for usage in the general population is unknown.
In Australia, Melanotan use is unregulated. The drug is currently captured in Arrange 4 (prescription just medications) of the Healing Item Administration’s Poisons Requirement, no products containing Melanotan are signed up for usage in Australia.
This means while there are rumours of some specialists recommending the drug, a lot of specialists warn versus– and will not recommend– Melanotan for aesthetic or lifestyle functions.
There are currently no population-based research studies on Melanotan to suggest the degree 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 the house. Users report a range of short-lived adverse effects including 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 viable service to attaining a “healthy tan” in line with present western beauty suitables. It likewise creates new kinds of risk concerning needle safety, disturbing 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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