Barbie Drug, Melanotan I, Melanotan II, Melanotan-I, Melanotan-II, MT-I, MT-II, Synthetic Alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (a-MSH) Analogues.


Overview Information

Melanotan is a lab-made chemical. It is similar to a hormone found in the body. It was originally made as a drug to help treat certain skin conditions. It is also sold over the internet as a supplement.

Melanotan is commonly used for skin tanning. It is also used to produce erections in men with erectile dysfunction (ED), for rosacea, for fibromyalgia, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also concern that melanotan might not be safe when used as a shot under the skin.

Be careful not to confuse melanotan with melatonin.

How does it work?

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


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Most early research suggests that giving melanotan as a shot under the skin helps men with erectile dysfunction achieve and keep an erection. However, side effects like nausea mean that this is not the best product to use. Also, melanotan is now only available as an unregulated product over the internet.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Tanning of the skin.
  • Preventing skin cancers due to sun exposure, when given as a shot under the skin.
  • Rosacea.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of melanotan for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When given as a shot: Melanotan is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when given as a shot. It can causes nausea, stomachcramps, decreased appetite, flushing, tiredness, yawning, darkened skin, spontaneous erections of the penis, and other side effects. In some people, especially those with light skin, a change in the shape of moles, new moles, and skin cancer, have all occurred in people using melanotan.

When sprayed in the nose: There isn't enough reliable information to know if melanotan is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if melanotan is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.



We currently have no information for MELANOTAN Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For erectile dysfunction (ED): the typical dosage of melanotan is 0.025 mg/kg.

View References


  • Callaghan Iii DJ. A glimpse into the underground market of melanotan. Dermatol Online J. 2018;24(5). pii: 13030/qt2gz9f9jk.
  • Cousen P, Colver G, Helbling I. Eruptive melanocytic naevi following melanotan injection. Br J Dermatol. 2009;161(3):707-8. View abstract.
  • 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.
  • Evans-Brown M, Dawson RT, Chandler M, McVeigh J. Use of melanotan I and II in the general population. BMJ. 2009;338:b566. View abstract.
  • Ferrándiz-Pulido C, Fernández-Figueras MT, Quer A, Ferrándiz C. An eruptive pigmented lesion after melanotan injection. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2011;36(7):801-2. 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.
  • Hjuler KF, Lorentzen HF. Melanoma associated with the use of melanotan-II. Dermatology. 2014;228(1):34-6. View abstract.
  • Kaski D, Stafford N, Mehta A, Jenkins IH, Malhotra P. Melanotan and the posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(9):707-8. View abstract.
  • 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.
  • Langan EA, Ramlogan D, Jamieson LA, Rhodes LE. Change in moles linked to use of unlicensed "sun tan jab". BMJ. 2009;338:b277. View abstract.
  • Nelson ME, Bryant SM, Aks SE. Melanotan II injection resulting in systemic toxicity and rhabdomyolysis. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2012;50(10):1169-73. View abstract.
  • Ong S, Bowling J. Melanotan-associated melanoma in situ. Australas J Dermatol. 2012;53(4):301-2. View abstract.
  • Paurobally D, El Hayderi L, Richert B, Andre J, Nikkels AF. Melanotan-associated transverse melanonychia. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013;27(1):128-9. View abstract.
  • Paurobally D, Jason F, Dezfoulian B, Nikkels AF. Melanotan-associated melanoma. Br J Dermatol. 2011;164(6):1403-5. 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.
  • Reid C, Fitzgerald T, Fabre A, Kirby B. Atypical melanocytic naevi following melanotan injection. Ir Med J. 2013;106(5):148-9. View abstract.
  • Schulze F, Erdmann H, Hardkop LH, et al. Eruptive naevi and darkening of pre-existing naevi 24 h after a single mono-dose injection of melanotan II. Eur J Dermatol. 2014;24(1):107-9. View abstract.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Orphan Drug Designations and Approvals. Available at: Accessed April 30, 2019.
  • 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 D, Dorr R, Hruby VJ, Hadley ME, Levine N. Effect of an alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone analog on penile erection and sexual desire in men with organic erectile dysfunction. Urology. 2000;56(4):641-6. 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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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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