The Power of PT-141: Understanding Its Duration and Effects
PT-141, also known as bremelanotide, is used to treat sexual dysfunction and low libido in men with erectile dysfunction (ED) and women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
In 2019, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Vyleesi, bremelanotide, to treat HSDD in premenopausal women after reviewing clinical trial results that demonstrated medication safety and effectiveness. Bremelanotide, PT-141, has since been explored as a treatment for men with decreased libido and ED. Manufacturers have not sought FDA approval for PT-141 use in men. PT-141 can be prescribed “off-label” for men based on the safety and efficacy trials that have been completed.
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How does PT-141 work?
PT-141 is a synthetic peptide that works similarly to the natural hormone melanocortin. It appears to bind to melanocortin receptors 3 and 4 in the brain and increases arousal and penile erections by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain.1
Initially, PT-141 was developed to increase skin pigmentation and tanning. Increased sexual desire and better erectile function were noted as side effects during clinical testing.
In men, PT-141 improves erectile function and promotes sexual desire. Unlike oral ED medications that increase blood flow into the penis, PT-141 works in the brain to increase sexual desire. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, approximately 80% of men developed an erection satisfactory for intercourse after using PT-141, whether the cause of ED was physical or psychological, and 68% of men reported an increase in sexual desire.2 PT-141 has shown effectiveness in treating ED in men with diabetes or who do not respond to sildenafil.
PT-141 has been studied and FDA-approved in women for its potential use in treating HSDD in premenopausal women. HSDD is characterized by a persistent lack of sexual desire that causes distress.
Based on DSM-5 criteria, HSDD can be diagnosed when women notice a decrease in three or more of the following and are distressed by these symptoms:
- Sexual or erotic fantasies or thoughts
- Interest or arousal in response to erotic stimuli, whether internal or external
- Interest in sexual activity
- Pleasure or excitement during sexual activity (3/4 of the time)
- Genital or non-genital sensations (3/4 of the time)
- Initiating sexual activity or responding when a partner initiates sexual activity
What are PT-141’s benefits?
PT-141 has several potential benefits, including the following:
- Increased libido
- Increased sexual arousal
- Better erectile function
What are PT-141’s side effects?
PT-141 can cause the following side effects:3,4,5
- Redness, pain, irritation, and bumps at the injection sites
When used long-term (52 weeks), nausea (40%) was the only severe adverse event noted in a study of 270 female patients taking PT-141. Flushing (21%) and headaches (12%) were also observed.6
Rare side effects may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Pounding in the ears
- Stuffy nose
- Tingling feeling in fingers and toes
- Slower or faster heartbeat
- Taking PT-141 may darken the color of your gums or your skin
People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or known cardiovascular disease should not take PT-141 because the medication increases blood pressure and reduces heart rate after each dose.
Can you take PT-141 daily?
PT-141 is injected subcutaneously or taken intranasally. Inject at least 45 minutes before anticipated sexual activity.
According to the recommended dosage, administering more than one dose in 24 hours or more than eight doses per month is not recommended. Injecting too many doses or injecting doses too close together does not improve efficacy and may increase potential side effects.3
Follow the instructions on your medication insert, and if you have questions, please get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist.
What is the half-life of PT-141?
The half-life of PT-141 is 2-3 hours.7,8 Medications are metabolized at different rates in each person. In some cases, people who have taken PT-141 report that they notice the effects for up to 24 hours.
If you have questions about the benefits or use of PT-141, contact one of the treatment specialists at Invigor Medical.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
- MOLINOFF, P.B., SHADIACK, A.M., EARLE, D., DIAMOND, L.E. and QUON, C.Y. (2003), PT-141: A Melanocortin Agonist for the Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 994: 96-102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2003.tb03167.x
- Wessells H, Fuciarelli K, Hansen J, Hadley ME, Hruby VJ, Dorr R, et al. Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction: Double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study. J Urol. 1998 Aug;160(2):389–93.
- VYLEESI Prescribing information. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/210557s000lbl.pdf
- Clayton, A.H., Lucas, J., Derogatis, L.R., Jordan, R., 2017. Phase I Randomized Placebo-controlled, Double-blind Study of the Safety and Tolerability of Bremelanotide Coadministered With Ethanol in Healthy Male and Female Participants. Clinical Therapeutics 39, 514–526.e14.. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2017.01.018
- Mayer D, Lynch SE. Bremelanotide: New Drug Approved for Treating Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Ann Pharmacother. 2020 Jul;54(7):684-690. doi: 10.1177/1060028019899152. Epub 2020 Jan 1. PMID: 31893927.
- Simon JA, Kingsberg SA, Portman D, Williams LA, Krop J, Jordan R, Lucas J, Clayton AH. Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Bremelanotide for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Nov;134(5):909-917. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003514. PMID: 31599847; PMCID: PMC6819023.
- King SH, Mayorov AV, Balse-Srinivasan P, Hruby VJ, Vanderah TW, Wessells H. Melanocortin receptors, melanotropic peptides and penile erection. Curr Top Med Chem. 2007;7(11):1098-1106. PMID: 17584130; PMCID: PMC2694735.
- Diamond, L., Earle, D., Rosen, R. et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the safety, pharmacokinetic properties and pharmacodynamic effects of intranasal PT-141, a melanocortin receptor agonist, in healthy males and patients with mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 16, 51–59 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijir.3901139