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).
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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 your already uneven pigmentation more noticeable, doesn’t create new ones), new nevi (moles), and darkening or enlargement of existing moles have been reported and have led to medical authorities discouraging use. There is no scientific study behind the long term & permanent side effects this peptide causes. 
Mechanism of action
To the extent that melanotan II produces melanogenesis, this is thought to be caused 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 possibly also 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 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.
Very early in the 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 and got an eight-hour erection, along with nausea and vomiting.
To pursue the tanning agent, melanotan-I (now known as afamelanotide) was licensed by Competitive Technologies, a technology transfer company operating on behalf of University of Arizona, to an Australian startup called Epitan, which changed its name to Clinuvel in 2006.
To pursue the 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 from melanotan-II in that it has a hydroxyl group where melanotan-II has an amide. Competitive Technologies sued Palatin for breach of contract and to try 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 $800,000. Bremelanotide was approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2019 under the brand name Vyleesi  to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
Society and culture
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- "Tanning drug a health risk". Herald Sun. 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
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- 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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