A review and update on melanocyte stimulating hormone therapy: afamelanotide

J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Jul 1;12(7):775-9.


Afamelanotide ([Nle4-D-Phe7]-alpha-MSH) is an analog of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone given as a subcutaneous injection. Afamelanotide is currently undergoing phase II and III trials in Europe and the US for skin diseases including vitiligo, erythropoietic protoporphyria, polymorphic light eruption and prevention of actinic keratoses in organ transplant recipients. Unregulated analogs and chemicals are being sold online ahead of formal approval. A number of counterfeit chemicals, 'Melanotans' are being sold for tanning purposes. Currently, afamelanotide is already on the market in Italy and Switzerland for patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria. This paper will review the current literature on this promising compound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Protoporphyria, Erythropoietic / drug therapy*
  • Protoporphyria, Erythropoietic / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • alpha-MSH / administration & dosage
  • alpha-MSH / analogs & derivatives*
  • alpha-MSH / pharmacology
  • alpha-MSH / therapeutic use


  • alpha-MSH
  • afamelanotide