Ingenol mebutate (also called ingenol-5-angelate) is an extract of a common plant, petty spurge or milk weed (Euphorbia peplus). Ingenol mebutate is derived from a cultivar of Euphorbia peplus that is specifically grown in Queensland for this purpose.
It has been shown to be useful in the treatment of superficial skin cancers including actinic keratoses (solar keratoses), which are scaly spots caused by long term sun exposure.
In January 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ingenol mebutate gel for the treatment for actinic keratoses on the face, scalp, trunk and extremities. Ingenol mebutate gel is available in concentrations of 0.015% and 0.05% and is manufactured by LEO Pharma with the trade name Picato®. Ingenol mebutate gel is not yet registered by MedSafe for use in New Zealand. LEO Pharma has announced the filing of a marketing authorisation application for ingenol mebutate gel in Australia, Brazil and the European Union.
The two or three-day course of ingenol mebutate gel compares favourably to several weeks or months needed for other topical therapies used for actinic keratoses, such as 5-fluorouracil cream and imiquimod cream.