Effect of an alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone analog on penile erection and sexual desire in men with organic erectile dysfunction


      Objectives. To assess the safety, erectogenic properties, and effect on sexual desire of Melanotan II, a synthetic melanotropic initiator of erection, in men with erectile dysfunction and organic risk factors.
      Methods. Ten subjects were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Melanotan II (0.025 mg/kg) and vehicle were each administered twice by subcutaneous injection; real-time RigiScan monitoring and a visual analog were used to quantify the erections during a 6-hour period. The level of sexual desire and side effects were recorded with a questionnaire.
      Results. Melanotan II initiated subjectively reported erections in 12 of 19 injections versus only 1 of 21 doses of placebo. The mean rigidity score of the responders was 6.9 on a scale of 0 to 10. The mean duration of tip rigidity greater than 80% was 45.3 minutes with Melanotan II versus 1.9 for placebo (P = 0.047). The level of sexual desire after injection was significantly higher after Melanotan II administration than after placebo. Nausea and stretching/yawning occurred more frequently with Melanotan II, and 4 of 19 injections were associated with severe nausea.
      Conclusions. The erectogenic properties of Melanotan II are not limited to cases of psychogenic erectile dysfunction; men with a variety of organic risk factors developed penile erections. The finding of increased sexual desire warrants further investigation of centrally acting agents on disorders of sexual desire.
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