Melanotan, also known as Barbie Drug, is a lab-made chemical whose original purpose was to treat certain skin conditions. It was developed in 1981 at the University of Arizona. It can be described as a drug that was initially meant for skin tuning (Melanotan I) and later discovered or advanced to a potential treatment of sexual dysfunctions, hence acquiring the title Melanotan II. This means the Melanotan I did not have libido enhancement and did not cause an erection. Its development leads to the discovery of Melanotan II. Melanotan I is straight, full-length peptide while Melanotan II is the circular version of afamelanotide. Both drugs have a skin tuning effect (Ong, Suyin, and Jonathan Bowling).
Melanotan is similar to a hormone present in the body called melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which is produced by the pituitary glands. It increases the production of the skin-darkening pigment, and it is sold over the internet as an unregulated product for as little as 17 Euros. Many websites selling this drug give no information about its side effects. Melanotan is commonly used for skin tanning. Men with erectile dysfunction also use it to produce an erection. It is also used for rosacea, fibromyalgia and other conditions, despite lacking scientific evidence to support most of these uses (Wessells, H., et al.)
The injection is done around the fatty tissue on the belly area, and the injection is done daily until the intended results are achieved. Melanotan I and Melanotan II are hardly differentiated and are studied as a similar concept, known as Melanotan, but anyone who attempts to look deeper into them will discover that Melanotan II has more side effects that Melanotan I. Most consumers, however, do not differentiate the two.
Melanotan is given in terms of shots and can lead to side effects such as nausea, decreased appetite, spontaneous erection of the penis, flushing, stomach cramps, darkened skin, kidney failure, brain swelling, yawning and tiredness, among others. It may cause skin cancer, a change in the shape of the moles and new moles to some people especially the ones with light skin. There is no enough information to reveal its side effects when sprayed in the nose and if it is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. In the UK, it is not illegal for the customer to buy it. The TGA has warned against the use of the drug. Most of the side effects of this drug are permanent (Hjuler, Kasper Fjellhaugen, and Henrik Frank Lorentzen).
The significant differences between Melanotan 1 and Melanotan II is that Melanotan I is more expensive and has fewer side effects in comparison, Melanotan II is more readily available than Melanotan I, Melanotan II is more effective, Melanotan I lacks the potential sexual present in Melanotan II, and, Melanotan I is straight, full-length peptide while Melanotan II is the circular version of afamelanotide. Both drugs are stored in powder form and have to be reconstituted in sterilized water before intake. It is advisable to store any sort of the two drugs in a refrigerator. Despite discouraging the use of any kind of Melanotan, Melanotan I is more fitting compared to Melanotan II. Karl Dinis from Cardiff is an example of people using Melanotan II and claims that he will never stop he claims that he always buys from China as dog flea or expired food (Evans-Brown, Michael, et al.)
Conclusively, Melanotan is a lab-made chemical whose original purpose was to treat certain skin conditions. It can be described as a drug that was originally meant for skin tuning (Melanotan I), and later discovered or advanced to a potential treatment of sexual dysfunctions, hence acquiring the title Melanotan II. Melanotan can lead to side effects such as nausea, decreased appetite, spontaneous erection of the penis, flushing, stomach cramps, darkened skin, skin cancer, kidney failure, brain swelling, yawning and tiredness, among others. There are some significant differences between Melanotan I and II. Despite the discouragement use of any form of the drug and it being illegal, it is advisable to use Melanotan I rather than Melanotan II.
Wessells, H., et al. "Melanocortin receptor agonists, penile erection, and sexual motivation: human studies with Melanotan II." International journal of impotence research 12.4 (2000): S74-S79.
Evans-Brown, Michael, et al. "Use of Melanotan I and II in the general population." (2009): b566.
Hjuler, Kasper Fjellhaugen, and Henrik Frank Lorentzen. "Melanoma associated with the use of melanotan-II." Dermatology 228.1 (2014): 34-36.
Ong, Suyin, and Jonathan Bowling. "Melanotan‐associated melanoma in situ." Australasian Journal of dermatology 53.4 (2012): 301-302.