Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/30/2022
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common condition that affects an estimated 30 million men in the United States.
If you’ve searched online for information about erectile dysfunction treatments, you may have come across a supplement called ExtenZe®.
ExtenZe is marketed as a “male enhancement” supplement that’s designed to increase sexual pleasure and performance, boost your stamina and enhance your testosterone production and male vitality.
While these claims are appealing, the science behind ExtenZe isn’t very reliable and there’s no evidence that it’s effective at treating erectile dysfunction or other sexual issues.
There has also been some controversy about ExtenZe’s marketing practices, claimed benefits and the use of unlabeled, potentially dangerous ingredients in this supplement.
Below, we’ve explained what exactly ExtenZe is and whether or not it works as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. We’ve also dug into the history of ExtenZe, particularly its association with questionable claims about sexual performance benefits and penis size enhancement.
Finally, we’ve listed several proven, evidence-based treatment options that you can use to treat erectile dysfunction and improve your sexual performance.
ExtenZe is a supplement. It’s marketed as a male enhancement product that improves just about every aspect of your sexual performance, from pleasure to stamina, energy, vitality and more.
Despite marketing claims, there’s no scientific evidence to show that ExtenZe is effective at treating erectile dysfunction.
Likewise, there’s no evidence that ExtenZe improves other aspects of sexual function or performance in men.
The company that makes and markets ExtenZe has been sued several times for making unsubstantiated advertising claims about its product’s effects.
Investigations by the FDA have found that ExtenZe and certain other male enhancement pills sometimes contain unlisted ingredients, including prescription ED medications such as sildenafil.
ExtenZe is a well-known male enhancement supplement. It’s been around for several decades and is widely promoted via TV ads and infomercials, usually broadcast late at night.
Like other male enhancement supplements, ExtenZe has made a broad range of claims about its effects over the years. For the most part, it claims to enhance your sexual performance and treat common male sexual health issues.
ExtenZe comes in both tablet and oral gel caps and is available from most drugstores and stores that sell sexual wellness supplements.
Although ExtenZe might look like a medication, the reality is that it’s a supplement. As such, it isn’t subject to the same testing or regulatory oversight as medications like sildenafil (Viagra®) and others.
While these medications need to prove that they work in order to go on sale, supplements like ExtenZe can be sold without any need to demonstrate their effectiveness in clinical trials.
Like most other dietary supplements marketed as “male enhancement” products, ExtenZe and similar products generally aren’t taken seriously by the scientific community.
Instead of being prescribed by healthcare providers, these products are generally sold directly to consumers via TV ads, blog and video ExtenZe reviews, forums and banner advertising.
Currently, there’s no scientific evidence that ExtenZe pills improve your erections, increase your stamina, boost sexual desire or have any other positive effects on your sexual performance.
As we mentioned above, ExtenZe is a supplement, not a medication. This means that it doesn’t need to go through the same clinical trial process that new medications go through to show that they’re safe and effective.
There are currently no clinical trials or peer-reviewed studies in major scientific journals that look at the effectiveness of ExtenZe as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or any other sexual performance issues.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that ExtenZe doesn’t work. ExtenZe is a relatively popular supplement. Some ExtenZe users may report anecdotal benefits for their sexual performance, even if these are just placebo responses.
However, based on the research that’s available, we can’t confidently state that ExtenZe or any similar untested sexual enhancement products are effective treatments for ED.
One thing to know is that the company behind ExtenZe, Biotab Nutraceuticals, has been subject to legal action several times for false advertising and other questionable marketing practices.
In 2011, the company agreed to pay a $1.75 million fine for engaging in misleading advertising by claiming without any evidence that ExtenZe could increase penis size.
One year earlier, the company settled a deceptive advertising class action lawsuit for $6 million without admitting any wrongdoing.
Even before these cases, the previous company behind ExtenZe had dealt with legal action. In 2006, it paid out $300,000 in civic penalties after making unsubstantiated claims that ExtenZe pills could increase average penis size by 27 percent.
Before medications are approved for human use, they go through a complex and thorough trial and testing process that’s mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA.
This process doesn’t just involve testing that a medication is effective — it also involves several rounds of clinical trials to ensure that the medication is safe.
This means that when you use an FDA-approved erectile dysfunction medication or premature ejaculation treatment, you’ll know that it’s been tested in thousands of people and reviewed for safety before it became available.
ExtenZe is a supplement, not a medication. As such, it isn’t regulated by the FDA to the same standards as the type of medication you’d receive from your doctor.
This means that the natural ingredients used in ExtenZe aren’t tested so thoroughly for safety, and may be harmful when misused or consumed in excessive quantities.
More concerningly, many ExtenZe products have been found to contain ingredients other than those listed on the label. In some cases, these have included prescription ingredients that can be harmful when used without a healthcare provider’s assistance.
In 2018, the FDA announced that ExtenZe Plus pills contain sildenafil, a medication that’s used to erectile dysfunction and the active ingredient in Viagra®.
Unlabeled ingredients are a major safety issue, as they can cause interactions when used with certain medications and other products.
According to the FDA, the unlabeled sildenafil found in ExtenZe Plus may “interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs” and “may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.”
So, since some ExtenZe products contain unlabeled sildenafil, does ExtenZe work like Viagra in your body? Not quite.
In addition to interacting with other medications and substances, unlabeled drug ingredients like sildenafil can pose additional safety risks when they’re manufactured in unsafe, often non-sterile environments.
Because these ingredients are included illicitly, they’re often manufactured inexpensively outside the United States in facilities that are far from ideal. These ingredients may be tainted, produced poorly or dosed incorrectly, posing extra risks if they’re consumed.
ExtenZe contains several active ingredients, some of which may affect certain aspects of your sexual health and performance. Common ExtenZe ingredients include:
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is a steroid hormone precursor that’s used by your body to create androgens like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Because of DHEA’s effects on testosterone levels, it’s listed as a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is also a precursor hormone that’s used by your body to create testosterone, estrogen and other hormones. It’s often marketed for its supposed ability to increase other hormone levels, although research on this topic is mixed.
Yohimbe. Yohimbe is a natural ingredient made from the bark of a tree native to central and western Africa. It contains the ingredient yohimbine, which is often promoted as an athletic performance booster.
This ingredient has been associated with several side effects, such as heart attacks and seizures. Currently, there isn’t enough scientific research to show that yohimbe is helpful for treating ED or improving athletic performance.
This is also problematic because in the U.S., it is illegal to market an over-the-counter product containing yohimbe as an ED medication without first obtaining FDA approval, which ExtenZe hasn’t received.
Tribulus. Tribulus is another herbal ingredient. It’s often used in male enhancement and fitness supplements due to its supposed benefits for building muscle mass and boosting testosterone levels.
Although some research has shown that tribulus may increase testosterone levels when it’s used with other ingredients, there’s very little research into its own effects.
Korean ginseng. Korean ginseng, or Asian ginseng, is a popular herbal folk ingredient that’s believed to boost energy and improve cardiovascular health.
Although some research has suggested that Korean red ginseng may help to treat ED, both the quality and quantity of existing research is limited.
L-arginine. L-arginine is an amino acid that’s marketed as a natural option for improving blood flow. Research suggests that l-arginine, when used with other ingredients, may be effective at improving sexual function in men with ED.
Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for inhibiting activity in your brain. It’s widely available as a nutritional supplement, although the effects of supplemental GABA on mood and sexual performance aren’t clear.
ExtenZe is sold in several formulations. Some of these may include additional or different active ingredients from those listed above. If you’re considering ExtenZe, you can read the ingredients list on the product’s packaging to check its contents.
Some of the ingredients used in ExtenZe may cause side effects, including several serious side effects that may affect your health and well-being.
For example, yohimbe, which is listed as an active ingredient in the “ExtenZe Sexual Response Enhancement Blend,” has been associated with serious cardiovascular and neurological issues, such as an increased risk of heart attacks and seizures.
It’s also linked to issues such as anxiety, high blood pressure, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and others.
Other ingredients may also cause side effects. For example, as an androgen, DHEA can cause adverse effects due to its effects on hormone levels, including male pattern baldness, acne and breast swelling (gynecomastia).
Because of these potential side effects, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before using ExtenZe or any other male enhancement supplements.
ExtenZe is sometimes recommended online as an alternative to Viagra, the FDA-approved ED medication.
Although ExtenZe and Viagra might seem similar at first glance, they’re very different products that are held to totally different standards.
As an FDA-approved medication, Viagra (and its generic counterpart, sildenafil) went through a long and thorough testing process before it came onto the market in the late 1990s.
This process involved ensuring that Viagra was both effective as a medication for ED and safe for men to use. It also involved understanding Viagra’s adverse effects, its potential to interact with other drugs, and the overall experience of using it as an ED treatment.
ExtenZe hasn’t gone through any of these steps, and as such, can’t legally be marketed as an evidence-based treatment for ED.
While some of the ingredients in ExtenZe may offer benefits for sexual performance, there’s no substantial scientific evidence to prove that they treat erectile dysfunction in the same way that Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors do.
There’s also no reliable data on the actual safety of using male enhancement products such as ExtenZe over the long term.
Furthermore, there are lots of unanswered questions about how ExtenZe works. How long does it take ExtenZe to work? How long does ExtenZe usually last? Since ExtenZe isn’t a medication, we’re not likely to have solid answers to these for quite some time, if ever.
Put simply, Viagra is a proven treatment for erectile dysfunction, whereas ExtenZe is more of a gamble. It might work, and you might notice improvements in your erections after taking it prior to sex.
However, we don’t have any solid scientific evidence to prove this just yet, nor do we have any reliable evidence about ExtenZe’s safety.
Because of the lack of high-quality study data about its safety and effectiveness, as well as the manufacturer’s history of including undeclared ingredients, it’s hard to recommend ExtenZe for erectile dysfunction, let alone other sex-related issues.
However, treatments for ED are available. In fact, several FDA-approved medications can help you to achieve better erections and enjoy better sexual performance, even if you’re affected by erectile dysfunction.
If you have erectile dysfunction, you’ll get much better results from science-based medication than from over-the-counter supplements like ExtenZe.
Unlike supplements, ED medications need to go through extensive testing in order to receive approval from the FDA. This testing is designed to verify that they’re safe to use and effective for their intended purpose.
Currently, the FDA has approved the following medications as treatments for ED:
Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, vardenafil provides relief from ED for four to six hours per dose.
Avanafil. The active ingredient in Stendra®, avanafil is a second-generation medication that’s less likely to cause certain side effects than older ED treatments.
These medications work by increasing the amount of blood flow to your penis, making it easier for you to get and maintain an erection before and during sex.
We offer several erectile dysfunction medications online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
If you’re one of the tens of millions of men affected by ED every year, making certain changes to your lifestyle and habits may help to improve your erections and sexual health. Try to:
Stay active and exercise regularly
Follow a healthy, balanced diet
Maintain a healthy body weight
Limit your alcohol consumption
If you smoke, make an effort to quit
Our guide to naturally maintaining an erection shares other healthy habits and lifestyle changes that you can use for better sexual health and function.
As well as living a balanced lifestyle, it’s important to stay on top of medical conditions that may contribute to ED. These include issues such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.
Our guide to the causes of erectile dysfunction explains more about how these issues can affect your erections and sexual performance.
Erectile dysfunction can be a frustrating issue to deal with. Not only can it get in the way of your sex life — it can also affect your self-confidence and mental health.
So, does ExtenZe work as a treatment for erectile dysfunction? Currently, there’s no high-quality evidence to suggest that ExtenZe treats erectile dysfunction or offers other benefits for your sex life.
More concerningly, the use of hidden drug ingredients in some ExtenZe products could result in side effects and interactions that may affect your safety and well-being.
Instead of relying on male enhancement products or herbal remedies to deal with ED, you’ll get far better results by using evidence-based erectile dysfunction treatments.
Interested in getting started? You can discuss your options with a healthcare provider by taking part in an ED consultation, or find out more about managing erectile dysfunction with our guide to the most common ED treatments.