Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Aiguillat, Escualamina, Spiny Dogfish Shark, Squalene, Squalène, Squalus acanthias.


Squalamine is a chemical produced from the stomach and the liver of the spiny dogfish shark. Squalamine can also be made in the laboratory.

People take squalamine as an antibiotic to fight bacterial infections.

The lab-made version of squalamine is sometimes applied directly to the skin as an antibiotic.

Some researchers are studying squalamine to see if it might be effective against solid tumors in children. Other researchers are studying squalamine in combination with a prescription high blood pressure medication called captopril. They want to see if this combination is a good treatment for eye disease caused by diabetes.

Don't confuse squalamine with shark cartilage, which is prepared from the cartilage of spiny dogfish shark, hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), and other shark species.

How does it work?

Squalamine is thought to prevent growth of bacteria that cause infections. It also contains chemicals that seem to prevent the formation and growth of tumors.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of squalamine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

It is not known if squalamine is safe or what the possible side effects might be.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of squalamine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of squalamine depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for squalamine. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Kikuchi K, Bernard EM, Sadownik A, et al. Antimicrobial activities of squalamine mimics. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1997;41:1433-8. View abstract.

Magainin Pharmaceuticals announces new research program for anti-angiogenesis agent - Squalamine - at Georgetown Univ Med Ctr. PRNewswire. www.prnewswire.com (Accessed 22 January 2000).

Magainin Presents Neuroblastoma Data for Squalamine at AACR Meeting. Available at: www.prnewswire.com (Accessed 3 April 2000).

Moore KS, Wehrli S, Roder H, et al. Squalamine: an aminosterol antibiotic from the shark. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1993;90:1354-8. View abstract.

Sills AK Jr, Williams JI, Tyler BM, et al. Squalamine inhibits angiogenesis and solid tumor growth in vivo and perturbs embryonic vasculature. Cancer Res 1998;58:2784-92. View abstract.