According to the Agency, it has of late received 18 reports detailing 74 separate reactions which are suspected to be side effects linked to the use of Melanotan, including stomach and heart problems as well as blood and eye disorders.
Melanotan I, Melanotan II and Ubertan work by increasing the levels of melanin which is the body’s natural protection from the sun and results in tanned skin. However, no product has been approved for use in the UK and as unlicensed medicines, these products carry health risks and may cause possible unknown side effects.
‘To combat the illegal trade in these products and to safeguard public health, the MHRA has closed down 72 websites offering to supply Melanotan to UK customers within the last three months,’ the MHRA stated.
Consumers are ignoring warnings for a quick fix, say experts
These products are in the form of injections and can be self-injected which means there are safety issues concerning needle use, such as the dangers of cross-contamination and infections. Yet they are being offered to people in gyms, beauty and tanning salons, as well as being sold through the internet.
On the matter, MHRA’s Senior Policy Advisor for Enforcement, Lynda Scammell, said: “People should not be fooled that this is a shortcut to getting a tan safely."
Whilst Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists added that; “There are several reports of people’s health suffering as a result of using such products, which illustrates why people should stick with safer ways of getting a tan, such as self tanning lotions."
“The very fact that it is illegal for sale in the UK should serve as the strongest warning against injecting a substance into your body for which we don’t yet have the full safety data," Goad concludes.