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Afamelanotide Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 15, 2020.

For the Consumer

Applies to afamelanotide: subcutaneous implant

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, afamelanotide may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking afamelanotide:

More common

  • Bruising, discoloration of the skin, itching, redness, swelling, or pain at the implant site

Less common

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of afamelanotide may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Nausea
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Less common

  • Darkening of the skin or lips
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to afamelanotide: subcutaneous implant


The more commonly reported adverse effects have included implant site reaction, specifically implant site discoloration, nausea, oropharyngeal pain, cough, and fatigue.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Implant skin reaction (21%)

Common (1% to 10%): Skin hyperpigmentation, skin irritation, melanocytic nevus, non-acute porphyria[Ref]

Implant site reactions including implant site bruising, discoloration, erythema, Haemorrhage, hypertrophy, irritation, nodule, pain, pruritus, swelling; injection site bruising and erythema; and expelled implant occurred more commonly in those receiving drug than those in the vehicle group (21% vs 10%). The most common implant site reaction reported in clinical studies was implant site discoloration (10%).

Skin hyperpigmentation included events of skin hyperpigmentation, pigmentation lip (subjects also had skin hyperpigmentation), and pigmentation disorder.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 26%)

Common (1% to 10%): Oropharyngeal pain, diarrhea, abdominal pain, toothache


Common (1% to 10%): Fatigue[Ref]


Very common (Greater than 10%): Nasopharyngitis (18%)

Common (1% to 10%): Cough, respiratory tract infection, sinusitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (Greater than 10%): Headache (38%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, somnolence, migraine[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Implant site pain, implant site discoloration


Very common (Greater than 10%): Back pain (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Arthralgia


1. "Product Information. Scenesse (afamelanotide)." Clinuvel, Inc., West Menlo Park, CA.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.