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Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects a person’s ability to get or keep an erection. While many companies advertise “natural” male enhancement pills online, these are often more dangerous than prescription alternatives.
Male enhancement pills are over-the-counter (OTC) pills that claim to help people have and maintain an erection. Instead of prescription medications, these products use herbs with very little scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
Some common ingredients in OTC pills include ashwagandha, saw palmetto, and horny goat’s weed. Many manufacturers use proprietary blends, meaning they do not disclose the exact herbs or amount they use in the ingredients list.
While OTC male enhancement pills are available online and in some stores, people should avoid using them unless they have discussed this with a healthcare professional. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that these pills can often contain undisclosed sildenafil, the main ingredient in Viagra. Sildenafil can interact with prescription medication and supplements, causing unintentional and dangerous side effects.
A 2021 study found that some common ingredients, such as ginseng and tribulus terrestris, show promise and require more research.
However, there is little evidence that the other ingredients in the products are effective. One analysis states that there are limited human studies on the effects of supplements on ED.
Additionally, another 2021 study found that all of the OTC products the researchers examined contained undisclosed sildenafil. This ingredient can interact with other medications and cause side effects such as dangerously low blood pressure.
The researchers recommended that OTC products containing undisclosed sildenafil should be withdrawn from the market immediately due to health concerns.
The FDA does not regulate OTC male enhancement supplements.
The organization has tested many male enhancement products available to purchase online and found over 410 contained hidden prescription ingredients such as sildenafil.
Taking products that contain undisclosed ingredients may cause unintentional side effects and interact with other medications. Sildenafil belongs to a class of medications known as PDE5 inhibitors.
When a person takes a PDE5 inhibitor alongside nitrates, such as nitroglycerine, it can cause dangerously low blood pressure. Some eye conditions, such as ischemic optic neuropathy, can worsen when taking sildenafil.
FDA-approved prescription medication is available for ED.
Sildenafil received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1998. Since then, more PDE5 inhibitors, such as tadalafil (Cialis), have also received FDA approval.
PDE5 inhibitors are common drugs that are widely used in managing ED.
When a person becomes aroused, their body releases enzymes that cause the smooth muscle in the blood vessels to relax. This allows blood to flow through these vessels and into the penis, causing an erection.
When these enzymes degrade, they cause blood flow to decrease. PDE5 inhibitors block the degradation of these enzymes, enabling increased blood flow and an erection.
A person does need to experience arousal for the drugs to produce the desired effect.
Learn more about buying ED pills online safely here.
Pills that contain sildenafil citrate are generally safe to use. However, some side effects may occur, including:
A person should avoid taking ED pills while taking certain medications. These include:
nitrates for chest pain
riociguat for pulmonary hypertension
recreational drugs that contain nitrates such as amyl nitrite
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
Below, we compare the ED medication providers described in this article.
Below are some of the most common questions about male enhancement pills:
Do male enhancement pills work?
No research has confirmed that male enhancement pills improve sexual performance or increase penis size. However, some prescription products, such as Viagra, may help treat ED.
What are the possible side effects of male enhancement pills?
Some of the possible side effects of male enhancement pills include:
Male enhancement pills can also interact with other medications. A person should speak with a medical professional before taking male enhancement pills.
What are male enhancement pills supposed to do?
The manufacturers of male enhancement supplements sold without a prescription may claim that their products improve sexual performance or increase penis size. However, numerous unsafe pills and supplements are marketed as male enhancement products.
What does male enhancement mean?
People may consider enhancement as anything they feel makes male sexual performance stronger, such as increased blood flow to the penis and improvements in the length, size, strength, and girth of an erection.
Can you take male enhancement pills every day?
Some prescription drugs, such as tadalafil (Cialis), come in low doses that a person can take daily upon advice from their doctor.
Why should I avoid OTC male enhancement pills?
Many pills marketed as male enhancement supplements are unsafe, untested, and unregulated.
A regularly updated list of tainted sexual enhancement products is available on the FDA website.
According to the FDA, “Consumers should also be on alert for products that offer immediate or quick results and that sound too good to be true.”
All the brands included in this article have undergone vetting for safety and quality.
Male enhancement pills are OTC pills that people can purchase online and in-store. However, there is little evidence that these products can help ED. Rather, they can be dangerous as they often contain undisclosed prescription medication that can interact with other drugs.
FDA-approved ED treatment is a safer way to have and maintain an erection. These treatments are only available via a prescription from a healthcare professional. Several telehealth companies make accessing ED treatment safe, quick, and affordable.
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