|Systematic IUPAC name
L-Lysinamide, N-acetyl-L-norleucyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-histidyl-D-phenylalanyl-L-arginyl-L-tryptophyl-, cyclic (2-7)-peptide
List of other names
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
It was under development as drug candidate for female sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction but clinical development ceased by 2003, and as of 2018, no product containing melanotan II was marketed and all commercial development had ceased.
Unlicensed, untested, or fraudulent products sold as "melanotan II" are found on the Internet, and purported to be effective as "tanning drugs", though side effects such as uneven pigmentation (it makes already uneven pigmentation more noticeable), new nevi (moles), and darkening or enlargement of existing moles have been reported and have led to medical authorities discouraging its use. There has been no scientific study into the long term and permanent side effects the use of this peptide may cause.
Mechanism of action
Melanotan II produces melanogenesis by activation of the MC1 receptor, whereas its clinically documented sexual effects are thought to be related to its ability to activate the MC4 receptor (though the MC3 is thought to also possibly be involved).
Research in the early 1960s showed that in rats, administration of α-MSH caused sexual arousal, and work on this continued in many labs up through the 1980s, when scientists at the University of Arizona began attempting to develop α-MSH and analogs as potential sunless tanning agents, and synthesized and tested several analogs, including melanotan-I and melanotan II.
Early in the research process one of the scientists, who was conducting experiments on himself with an early tool compound, melanotan II, injected himself with twice the dose he intended to and got an eight-hour erection, along with nausea and vomiting.
As a tanning agent, melanotan I (now known as afamelanotide) was licensed by Competitive Technologies, a technology transfer company operating on behalf of the University of Arizona, to an Australian startup called Epitan, which changed its name to Clinuvel in 2006.
As a sexual dysfunction agent, melanotan II was licensed by Competitive Technologies to Palatin Technologies. Palatin ceased development of melanotan II in 2000 and synthesized, patented, and began to develop bremelanotide, a likely metabolite of melanotan II that differs in that it has a hydroxyl group where melanotan II has an amide. Competitive Technologies sued Palatin for breach of contract and tried to claim ownership of bremelanotide; the parties settled in 2008 with Palatin retaining rights to bremelanotide, returning rights to melanotan II to Competitive Technologies, and paying US$800,000.
Society and culture
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- "EpiTan focuses on Melanotan, a potential blockbuster". The Pharma Letter. 1 November 2004.
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- "Epitan changes name to Clinuvel, announces new clinical program". LabOnline. 27 February 2006.
- "Press Release: Palatin Technologies Refutes Competitive Technologies Contention of Material Breach". Palatin Technologies via PR Newswire. September 12, 2007.
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- "Tanning drug a health risk". Herald Sun. 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Langan EA, Nie Z, Rhodes LE (September 2010). "Melanotropic peptides: more than just 'Barbie drugs' and 'sun-tan jabs'?". The British Journal of Dermatology. 163 (3): 451–5. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09891.x. PMID 20545686. S2CID 8203334.
- Langan EA, Ramlogan D, Jamieson LA, Rhodes LE (January 2009). "Change in moles linked to use of unlicensed "sun tan jab"". BMJ. 338: b277. doi:10.1136/bmj.b277. PMID 19174439. S2CID 27838904.
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- "Warning against the product Melanotan". Danish Medicines Agency. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
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- "Legemiddelverket advarer mot bruk av Melanotan". Norwegian Medicines Agency. 2007-12-13. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "Melanotan – farlig og ulovlig brunfarge". Norwegian Medicines Agency. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-11.