Usefulness of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to assess the melanocortin receptor agonist bremelanotide

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Melanocortin receptor agonists that bind to the melanocortin receptor 4 may cause increases in blood pressure (BP). Bremelanotide is an on-demand, subcutaneous melanocortin-receptor agonist that binds to the melanocortin receptor 4 and is being developed for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction.


We studied the effects of bremelanotide administration on ambulatory BP and heart rate (HR), in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel-arm trial of three doses of bremelanotide (0.75, 1.25, and 1.75 mg) in 397 premenopausal women with female sexual dysfunction with normotension or controlled hypertension. Pharmacokinetic exposure was assessed in conjunction with ambulatory BP measurements.


Increases in ambulatory SBP relative to placebo of 2.4 and 3.0 mmHg (1.25 mg; P values: 0.029 and 0.076) and 3.1 and 3.2 mmHg (1.75 mg; P values: 0.006 and 0.027), respectively, occurred following two doses, separated by 24 h at the 0 to 4-h postdose interval; peak increases typically lasted less than 15 min. Similar increases in the DBP were observed. Increases in BP were accompanied by reductions in HR during the 0–4-h interval for the 1.75-mg dose (−4.6 to −4.7 bpm; P < 0.001). Twenty-six participants discontinued after randomization due to prespecified increases in BP but the proportions were similar among the four treatment groups.


These data show that ambulatory monitoring was a useful methodology to detect small, transient increases in ambulatory BP accompanied by reductions in HR following bremelanotide. Results of this trial led to appropriate in-clinic BP monitoring during the larger clinical development trials of this agent for female sexual dysfunction.

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