Other Name(s):

Melanotan II, MT-II.


Melanotan-II is a lab-made chemical that is similar to a hormone found in people. Be careful not to confuse melanotan-II with melatonin.

Melanotan-II is given as a shot to produce erections in men with ED (erectile dysfunction), tan the skin, and prevent skin cancers caused by sun exposure.

How does it work?

Melanotan-II is similar to a substance in our bodies, called “melanocyte-stimulating hormone,” which increases the production of skin-darkening pigments. Melanotan-II might also work in the brain to stimulate erections of the penis.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is… See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Producing erections in men with ED (erectile dysfunction), when given as a shot under the skin.
  • Tanning of the skin, when given as a shot under the skin.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Preventing skin cancers due to sun exposure, when given as a shot under the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of melanotan-II 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

Melanotan-II is POSSIBLY SAFE when used under medical supervision for treating ED (erectile dysfunction). It may cause nausea, stomach cramps, decreased appetite, flushing, tiredness, yawning, darkened skin, spontaneous erections of the penis, and other side effects.

There isn't enough information to know whether melanotan-II is safe for other uses.


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

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


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For causing an erection in men with ED: the typical dosage of melanotan-II is 0.025 mg/kg.
  • For tanning skin: the typical dosage of melanotan-II is 0.025 mg/kg.

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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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Dorr RT, Lines R, Levine N, et al. Evaluation of melanotan-II, a superpotent cyclic melanotropic peptide in a pilot phase-I clinical study. Life Sci 1996;58:1777-84. View abstract.

Hadley ME, Hruby VJ, Blanchard J, et al. Discoverdevelopment of novel melanogenic drugs. Melanotan-I and -II. Pharm Biotechnol 1998;11:575-95.

Lan EL, Ugwu SO, Blanchard J, et al. Preformulation studies with melanotan II: a potential skin cancer chemopreventive peptide. J Pharm Sci 1994;83:1081-4. View abstract.

Pinsuwan S, Myrdal PB, Yalkowsky SH. Systemic delivery of melanotan II through the ocular route in rabbits. J Pharm Sci 1997;86:396-7.

Wessells H, Fuciarelli K, Hansen J, et al. Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction; double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study. J Urol 1998;160:389-93. View abstract.

Wessells H, Gralnek DR, Dorr RT, et al. Erectogenic properties of melanotan II in men with organic erectile dysfunction. 1999. Abstract Info-American Urological Association, Inc.

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