Snake venom has been used within the medical community for the best part of 30 years, both for therapeutic and diagnostic uses. In fact, there are two drugs that are currently licensed by the EMA, MHRA and FDA, used to prevent heart attacks in patients who have cardiovascular issues. These drugs are Aggrastat (Tirofiban), which contains a protein found in African saw-scalped viper venom, and Integrilin (Eptifibatide), which contains a modified protein from rattlesnake venom.
Snake venom has only recently been used in cosmetic products with the development of SYN®-AKE, a synthesized version of a polypeptide found in temple viper venom, called Waglerin 1. SYN®-AKE was developed in Sweden, by pharmaceutical company Pentapharm Ltd. It’s used primarily as an ingredient in face creams and mask, as it works similarly to botox, temporarily paralysing facial muscles, helping to smooth out the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
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Snake venom creams first started to become popular in 2012, with reports that celebrities including Debra Messing, Gwyneth Paltrow and Katie Homes use the cream as part of their own anti-ageing skin care regimes.