Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
A lot of Australians recognize with the Cancer Council’s slogans reminding us to “slip, slop, slap”, which “there’s absolutely nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a questionable injectable tanning agent Melanotan is growing in appeal. However how safe is it, and can it secure us from the sun’s damage?
What is Melanotan?
Referred to as “Mel”, “MT” or “the Barbie drug”, Melanotan is an artificial melanocortin, which is a hormone derived from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that manages growth and advancement.
It assists to accelerate the production of melanin, the pigment that soaks up ultraviolet radiation and offers skin its colour. When delivered by injection throughout just a week, Melanotan has the result 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 principally used for the treatment of skin disorders including vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that impact skin appearance and sensitivity (specifically to sunlight). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can assist ease the symptoms of these conditions and allow those detected to live a more typical life.
Melanotan’s tanning ability and potential usage as a “natural” photoprotectant (that helps to prevent damage caused by sunlight) has also received much public interest, and led to its appropriation as a lifestyle drug.
The reasoning behind this pattern is that creating tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with minimal to no sun direct exposure could safeguard individuals from skin damage, and even potentially lower cancer malignancy risk. More melanin indicates 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 idea of the “healthy glow”.
Is it safe to utilize?
Clinical trials of the security and efficiency of Melanotan are ongoing, but in 2008 the European Medicines Company approved a mix of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for minimal prescription-only usage by those with particular skin problem throughout the European Union.
However, there are no published medical trials of the drug amongst individuals without these conditions. This means its long-term efficacy and safety for usage in the general population is unidentified.
In Australia, Melanotan usage is unregulated. The drug is currently captured in Set up 4 (prescription just medications) of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Poisons Standard, no items consisting of Melanotan are signed up for use in Australia.
This suggests while there are rumours of some professionals recommending the drug, the majority of practitioners warn against– and will not prescribe– Melanotan for visual or lifestyle purposes.
There are currently no population-based studies on Melanotan to indicate the extent of its usage, nevertheless, there are reports of its increased off-label use in the UK.
The majority of users source the drug via “underground” online suppliers at expenses varying from A$ 30-50 for a one-month supply, and self-administer the injections at home. Users report a range of brief adverse effects consisting of facial flushing, nausea, momentary freckling and darkening of moles, and in some males, spontaneous erections.
There is a possibility Melanotan may some day present a practical solution to accomplishing a “healthy tan” in line with existing western beauty ideals. It also develops new types of threat worrying 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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