Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
A lot of Australians are familiar with the Cancer Council’s slogans reminding us to “slip, slop, slap”, which “there’s absolutely nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a controversial injectable tanning agent Melanotan is growing in appeal. 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 hormonal agent stemmed from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that controls growth and development.
It helps to speed up the production of melanin, the pigment that absorbs ultraviolet radiation and offers skin its colour. When delivered by injection over the course of just a week, Melanotan has the result of (semi-permanently) darkening the skin, as though tanned by the sun.
First developed in the 1980s by researchers at the University of Arizona, Melanotan is principally used for the treatment of skin disorders including vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that affect skin appearance and sensitivity (specifically to sunlight). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions and make it possible for 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 sunlight) has actually also gotten much public interest, and resulted in its appropriation as a lifestyle drug.
The reasoning behind this trend is that producing tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with very little to no sun exposure might protect people from skin damage, and even possibly lower cancer malignancy danger. More melanin indicates more protection from UV radiation, and therefore a healthier (and easily, much deeper) complexion. In this sense, there is perhaps a kernel of fact to the idea of the “healthy radiance”.
Is it safe to utilize?
Medical trials of the safety and effectiveness of Melanotan are ongoing, but in 2008 the European Medicines Company authorized a blend of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for minimal prescription-only use by those with particular skin conditions throughout the European Union.
There are no published scientific trials of the drug among people without these conditions. This implies its long-term effectiveness and safety for use in the basic population is unidentified.
In Australia, Melanotan use is uncontrolled. The drug is presently recorded in Arrange 4 (prescription just medications) of the Healing Product Administration’s Poisons Requirement, no products consisting of Melanotan are registered for use in Australia.
This means while there are rumours of some professionals prescribing the drug, many professionals alert versus– and will not prescribe– Melanotan for visual or lifestyle purposes.
There are currently no population-based studies on Melanotan to suggest the extent of its usage, however, there are reports of its increased off-label use in the UK.
Most of users source the drug via “underground” online vendors at costs ranging from A$ 30-50 for a one-month supply, and self-administer the injections in the house. Users report a range of short-term adverse effects including facial flushing, nausea, momentary freckling and darkening of moles, and in some males, spontaneous erections.
There is a possibility Melanotan might some day provide a viable solution to accomplishing a “healthy tan” in line with present western beauty ideals. However it likewise develops new types of risk worrying needle safety, upsetting patient-practitioner relationships via unregulated usage, and the subversion of public health messages that groups such as Cancer Council Australia have actually 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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