UK Warns about Melanotan usage

Written by on November 18, 2008 in in the news, melanotan with 2 Comments

The mainstream UK press has several articles today about the risks of an using a yet to be approved injectible tan, even go so far as to name Melanotan.

The Independent: Warnings over ‘injectable tan’ product

People seeking a glow this winter should avoid an "injectable tan" being sold illegally, regulators warned today.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a notice over an unlicensed product called Melanotan.

It is being advertised and sold illegally on the internet and in some tanning salons and body building gyms

From the BBC: Unlicensed tanning drug use rises

A growing number of people in the UK are injecting themselves with an unlicensed tanning drug, a BBC investigation has found.

Melanotan is still undergoing clinical trials but is sold illegally online and in salons and gyms, Newsbeat reports.

It is a synthetic hormone which stimulates the body’s production of melanin, a substance that gives the skin its colour.

Experts are worried that the long-term effects are not yet known.

The BBC story links to several videos from users of and also opponents to Melanotan.

From The Daily Telegraph: Illegal tanning injection on sale in gyms and online

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said that injecting Melanotan could have serious side-effects.

The self-tanning product, which has not been official safety-tested, is being illegally sold over the internet and in some tanning salons and body building gyms.

The chemical boosts the body’s production of melanin, the natural substance that gives skin its pigmentation and helps protect it from the sun’s rays.

There has been a rapid increase in the number of people seeking such drugs, who want an all-round tan but are unwilling to subject themselves to potentially damaging UV light from sun beds.

But David Carter, from the MHRA, warned: "Don’t be fooled into thinking that Melanotan offers a short cut to a safer and more even tan. The safety of these products is unknown and they are unlicensed in the UK."

He said the side effects could be extremely serious.

It is obviously a pretty big thing to get this sort of massive coverage from papers and online in the UK.

I sometimes get the impression that the online communities are over represented by those who are willing to take risks with treatments. Forums are full of people sharing anecdotal information about how to supposedly safely use unapproved treatments. Certainly the internet and the whole globalisation of drug development and testing has made the exchange of this sort of information easy.

How about you ? are you willing to try unproven and risky treatments ?

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Suzie says:

    I don’t understand why more isn’t being done to make this drug legal. As someone who has lost two family members as a result of skin cancer it makes me cringe to see people baking themselves to a crisp in the sun and on tanning beds. People will always be looking for the perfect tan so why not make Melanotan available as a safe alternative?

  2. David Pascoe says:

    Hi Suzie,

    Sadly there isn’t actually anyone who is trying to get Melanotan (1 or 2) approved as a pharmaceutical product.

    The closest ongoing effort is by Clinuvel which is pursuing its own product called afamelanotide and is targeting approval for a small set of rare skin conditions.

    Outside this no-one is trying to get approval for enhancing a sun tan for eg.

    davidp.

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