We review our experience with Melanotan II, a non-selective melanocortin receptor agonist, in human subjects with erectile dysfunction (ED). Melanotan II was administered to 20 men with psychogenic and organic ED using a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. Penile rigidity was monitored for 6 h using RigiScan. Level of sexual desire and side effects were reported with a questionnaire. In the absence of sexual stimulation, Melanotan II led to penile erection in 17 of 20 men. Subjects experienced a mean of 41 min Rigiscan tip rigidity>80%. Increased sexual desire was reported after 13/19 (68%) doses of Melanotan II vs 4/21 (19%) of placebo (P<0.01). Nausea and yawning were frequently reported side effects due to Melanotan II; at a dose of 0.025 mg/kg, 12.9% of subjects had severe nausea. We conclude that Melanotan II is a potent initiator of penile erection in men with erectile dysfunction. Our findings warrant further investigation of melanocortin agonists and antagonists on penile erection. International Journal of Impotence Research (2000) 12, Suppl 4, S74-S79.