Is this injectable tanning drug safe to use?
Most Australians are familiar with the Cancer Council’s mottos reminding us to “slip, slop, slap”, which “there’s nothing healthy about a tan”.
Now a questionable injectable tanning agent Melanotan is growing in popularity. But how safe is it, and can it protect 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 derived from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that manages growth and advancement.
It assists to speed up the production of melanin, the pigment that soaks up ultraviolet radiation and offers skin its colour. When delivered by injection throughout as little as a week, Melanotan has the effect 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 principally used for the treatment of skin disorders consisting of vitiligo and erythropoietic protoporphyria that affect skin look and sensitivity (specifically to sunlight). By promoting melanin in the skin, Melanotan can assist reduce the symptoms of these conditions and allow those identified to live a more normal life.
Nevertheless, Melanotan’s tanning capability and prospective usage as a “natural” photoprotectant (that helps to prevent damage caused by sunlight) has actually likewise gotten much public interest, and caused its appropriation as a lifestyle drug.
The logic behind this pattern is that developing tanned skin (by increasing melanin) with very little to no sun exposure could safeguard individuals from skin damage, and even potentially lower melanoma threat. More melanin implies more security from UV radiation, and for that reason a much healthier (and easily, deeper) complexion. In this sense, there is perhaps a kernel of reality to the idea of the “healthy radiance”.
Is it safe to utilize?
Medical trials of the security and effectiveness of Melanotan are continuous, but in 2008 the European Medicines Agency approved a mix of the peptide called Scenesse to be marketed for limited prescription-only use by those with particular skin problem throughout the European Union.
There are no published medical trials of the drug amongst people without these disorders. This suggests its long-lasting efficacy and security for use in the basic population is unknown.
In Australia, Melanotan usage is uncontrolled. Although the drug is presently caught in Arrange 4 (prescription only medications) of the Restorative Goods Administration’s Poisons Requirement, no products including Melanotan are registered for use in Australia.
This means while there are rumours of some professionals prescribing the drug, many practitioners caution against– and will not recommend– Melanotan for aesthetic or lifestyle functions.
There are presently no population-based research studies on Melanotan to show the level of its use, nevertheless, there are reports of its increased off-label usage in the UK.
The majority of users source the drug through “underground” online suppliers 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 adverse effects including facial flushing, nausea, momentary freckling and darkening of moles, and in some males, spontaneous erections.
There is a possibility Melanotan may some day provide a viable option to attaining a “healthy tan” in line with existing western beauty suitables. It likewise creates brand-new forms of danger concerning needle security, 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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