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Melanotan-induced priapism: a hard-earned tan


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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