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Melanotan-induced priapism: a hard-earned tan
  1. Barend Albert Dreyer1,
  2. Tarik Amer1 and
  3. Michael Fraser2
  1. 1 Urology, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Urology, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Barend Albert Dreyer, b.dreyer{at}


Melanocortin analogues, such as melanotan, are illegally used for artificial tanning. They have also been suggested as possible therapeutic agents in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. This case study presents a patient attending the accident and emergency department, in a tertiary urology centre, with acute priapism after abdominal subcutaneous injection of melanotan. The priapism was diagnosed as ‘low-flow’ and managed with cavernosal aspiration, irrigation and subsequent intracavernosal injection of phenylephrine. The patient avoided requiring surgical shunting but had not yet recovered erectile function at 4-week follow-up. Acute priapism is an unreported side effect of melanocortin analogue use and this case report presents a patient managed without surgical intervention. Future therapeutic application of these agents will need to take this potential life altering complication into consideration.

  • urology
  • skin

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  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Contributors The list of authors is correct and all authors have contributed to this work as detailed below: (1) BDA - clinical management of patient, review of literature, patient follow-up, write up of case discussion, named author for correspondence and submission. (2) TA - clinical management of patient, assistance with literature review, contribution to clinical diagnosis/management section of case report. (3) MF - clinical management of patient, review and editing of case report, assistance with literature review.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.