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Does ExtenZe® Work for Male Enhancement?

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Nicholas Gibson

Published 04/12/2021

Updated 03/16/2024

If you’ve ever searched for male enhancement products, or if you’re a fan of ridiculous late-night infomercials, you’ve probably heard of 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’s also some controversy about ExtenZe’s marketing practices, purported 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 male enhancement pills, 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.

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ExtenZe is a supplement that’s marketed as a male enhancement product to improve just about every aspect of your sexual performance, from pleasure to stamina, energy, vitality and more.

Despite these 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. 

In fact, the company that makes and markets ExtenZe has been sued several times for making unsubstantiated advertising claims about its product’s effects.

And not only are they ineffective, but investigations by the FDA show that ExtenZe and other male enhancement pills contain unlisted, potentially dangerous ingredients, including prescription ED ingredients such as sildenafil.

And yes — before you ask — sildenafil is the main ingredient in Viagra, too. But — and this is a big but — like all other prescription drugs, it’s only safe when taken under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider. There’s no way of knowing how much sildenafil ExtenZe and other gas station sex pills actually contain.

We’ve all seen those infomercials. You know, the ones about the “simple capsule” that’s proven to increase your penis size, help you last longer and essentially, give you the ability for a porn-star-level sexual performance a few minutes after you take it.

ExtenZe is one of the most well-known sex supplements for men. It’s been on the market since the early 2000s and, thanks to its relentless marketing — the company even sponsored its own NASCAR car in the 2010s — is certainly hard to avoid.

Like other male enhancement supplements, ExtenZe has made some pretty bold claims about its effects over the years.

When it first came onto the market, most of ExtenZe’s marketing focused on its supposed ability to make your penis bigger. Think of those “increase your penis size by 27%” emails that used to occasionally escape your spam box. 

These days, ExtenZe claims to offer a variety of sex-related benefits, including:

  • Better blood flow to the erectile chambers inside your penis, meaning bigger and harder erections

  • Increased penis size, both in terms of length and girth

  • Enhanced sexual pleasure and performance, resulting in more enjoyable sex

  • An “awesome sex life that will turn your bedroom into a house of pleasure”

ExtenZe is available as tablets and oral gel caps and is sold by most drugstores and stores that offer sexual wellness supplements. It’s sold in several formulations, and while new products seem to be launched and discontinued often, some of the ones you might see include:

  • ExtenZe Extended Release

  • ExtenZe Maximum Strength

  • ExtenZe Original Formula

  • ExtenZe Plus

  • ExtenZe With Testosterone Boost

Of all the underregulated sexual enhancement supplements on the market, ExtenZe makes some of the boldest claims out there. It also has one of the most controversial histories — something we’ve discussed a little further down the page.

Like with other sexual enhancement supplements that promise bigger erections and better sex, the science doesn’t add up when it comes to ExtenZe. 

Now, ExtenZe is a popular supplement and some users might report anecdotal benefits for their sexual performance, even if these are just placebo responses. But that doesn’t mean it “works.”

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. 

There are no clinical trials or peer-reviewed studies in major scientific journals that look at the effectiveness of ExtenZe as a penis size enhancer, or as treatment for erectile dysfunction or other sexual performance issues. 

One related 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.

The previous company behind ExtenZe also 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. 

That’s pretty convincing evidence that ExtenZe might not do what it claims to do for your sex life.

ExtenZe contains several active ingredients, some of which may affect certain aspects of your sexual health and performance, including:

  • 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 serious side effects, including heart attacks and seizures. In the US, marketing products that contain yohimbine as a treatment for ED without approval from the FDA (which ExtenZe has yet to receive) is illegal.

  • 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 effects on its own or in ExtenZe.

  • Korean ginseng. Korean ginseng, or Asian ginseng, is a popular herbal folk ingredient that’s believed to improve cardiovascular health and act as an energy booster.
    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.

Many ExtenZe supplements also contain inactive ingredients, including titanium dioxide, food dyes and preservatives.

If you’re considering ExtenZe, you can read the ingredients list on the product’s packaging to check its contents — but there may be ingredients that aren’t listed there. 

We talked above about the ingredients ExtenZe does list on its label. Now, let's talk about what's beneath the surface.

Over the years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has investigated ExtenZe pills several times and found that ExtenZe products sometimes contain unlabeled ingredients.

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 necessarily.

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, 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 is a Supplement, Not a Medication

In addition to the risks associated with unlabeled, potentially contaminated ingredients, there’s also the fact that ExtenZe isn’t subject to the kind of formal safety testing that medications undergo. 

Before medications are approved for human use, they go through a complex and thorough trial and testing process that’s mandated by the FDA.

This process helps to ensure that medications are both safe and effective before they’re made available to the public.

But ExtenZe is a supplement, not a medication, and supplements don’t have to go through the same types of rigorous testing as the type of medication you’d receive from your doctor.

This means that the “natural” ingredients used in ExtenZe may not be thoroughly tested for safety, and may be harmful when they’re misused or consumed in excessive quantities. 

Despite its “natural” formula, some of the ingredients used in ExtenZe may cause side effects, including serious ones. These include:

  • Cardiovascular and neurological issues such as heart attacks and seizures, which are associated with yohimbe extract

  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) or hypertension (elevated blood pressure) 

  • Increased feelings of anxiety

  • Male pattern baldness, adult acne and breast swelling (gynecomastia), which can occur due to androgen hormones produced from DHEA

  • Stomach problems

Many of the unlabeled ingredients found in ExtenZe products can also cause side effects. For example, sildenafil — the active ingredient in Viagra — can cause the following adverse effects:

  • Headaches

  • Flushing

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

  • Blurred vision and other vision changes

  • Nasal congestion

  • Muscle soreness

  • Back pain

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Skin rash

These side effects may be more severe when sildenafil isn’t a labeled ingredient, such as in ExtenZe or other male enhancement pills because it’s unclear how much of this medication is in each tablet.

Because of these potential side effects, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before you consider using ExtenZe or any other male enhancement dietary supplements.

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ExtenZe is sometimes recommended online as an alternative to Viagra, an 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 in terms of effectiveness and safety.

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, there’s no evidence to suggest that it’s effective or safe. 

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. 

As part of this process, Viagra was tested in 21 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that involved more than 3,000 people.

These trials showed what you’d expect if you’ve ever taken Viagra — that it works very well as an ED treatment and has few, generally mild side effects. 

Because ExtenZe is a dietary supplement, not a medication, it hasn’t gone through the same rigorous clinical trials. As such, it can’t legally be marketed as an evidence-based treatment for ED or as a medication for increasing your penis size. 

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 or to the same extent that Viagra does.

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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 improving your erections, penis size or other aspects of your sexual performance.

However, there are proven treatments for ED, including medications you can use before sex and a variety of changes you can make to your habits and lifestyle.

ED Medications

If you have ED, you’ll get much better results from a science-based medication than from a supplement like ExtenZe.

Currently, the FDA has approved the following oral medications as treatments for ED:

  • Sildenafil. The active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil is a popular ED medication that can provide relief from erectile dysfunction for approximately four hours per dose.

  • Tadalafil. The active ingredient in Cialis®, tadalafil is a longer-lasting medication that’s known as the “weekend pill” due to its ability to provide relief from ED for up to 36 hours per dose.

  • 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 fast-acting and is less likely to cause some side effects. 

These medications, which are referred to as PDE5 inhibitors, work by increasing blood flow to your penis, making it easier to get and stay hard when you’re in the mood for sex.

There is also an FDA-approved injectable medication, alprostadil, for ED, as well as a recently FDA-authorized over the counter gel for ED.

We offer several oral erectile dysfunction medications online — including Hims hard mints, which make taking ED medication even more convenient — following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate for you. 

Habits & Lifestyle Changes

An estimated 30 million men in the US are affected by ED. If you’re one of them, making some simple, small changes to your lifestyle and habits can help to improve your erections and sexual health. 

Try to:

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.

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It’s totally normal to want a bigger penis, harder erections and better sexual performance. While ExtenZe makes some lofty claims about its ability to provide these, there’s no scientific evidence that it actually delivers. 

If you’re thinking about trying ExtenZe or a similar male enhancement supplement, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Despite the bold claims, testimonials and ExtenZe reviews you may find online, ExtenZe hasn’t been subject to any clinical trials. As such, we don’t have any reliable information about whether or not it truly works.

  • Some ingredients found in ExtenZe, such as yohimbe, are associated with heart attacks, anxiety, seizures and other serious risks.

  • Although ExtenZe claims to use a “natural” formula, FDA investigations have found that ExtenZe products make use of hidden drug ingredients, some of which may cause side effects and interactions. 

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 medication. 

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

21 Sources

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  5. Watson, E. (2011, July 25). Biotab Nutraceuticals to pay $1.75m to settle lawsuit over ExtenZe. Retrieved from
  6. Edwards, J. (2010, December 1). Extenze Settles a False Advertising Suit; Now the FTC Should Go After Jimmy Johnson. Retrieved from
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  13. Stanislavov, R. & Nikolova, V. (2003). Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L-arginine. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 29 (3), 207-13. Retrieved from
  14. Boonstra, E., et al. (2015, October). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in Psychology. 6, 1520. Retrieved from
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  16. Development & Approval Process | Drugs. (2022, August 8). Retrieved from
  17. Grymowicz, M., et al. (2020, August). Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21 (15), 5342. Retrieved from
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  21. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. (2017, July). Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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