Why ‘Natural’ ED Pills Raise Red Flags

Con artists selling questionable products count on men’s reluctance to bring up ED with a doctor.

Con artists selling questionable products count on men’s reluctance to bring up ED with a doctor.

As amazing as prescription drugs for treating erectile dysfunction (ED) are, there will always be scam artists trying to convince people there’s an easier way.

Drugs like Viagra have successfully treated ED in tens of millions of men worldwide, revolutionizing both how ED is treated and how it is perceived by the general public. Once the subject of lowered voices and feelings of failure, ED has been found to be largely a condition involving impaired blood flow, a problem that Viagra and its competitors treat directly.

But let’s be realistic. It’s still not easy for a lot of men to talk to their doctors about ED. It would be so much easier if something were available over the counter, something that wouldn’t require discussion and dissection of intimate life details. That’s where the scam artists come in.

If you’ve visited a convenience store in recent years, you have probably noticed single blister-pack “natural” products that claim to improve sexual performance. They’re right there, they don’t require a prescription, and they cost less than Viagra. What’s not to like, right?

What’s in These “All Natural” Products for Treating ED?

First of all, “natural” means absolutely nothing. For one thing, plenty of harmful things are “naturally occurring” (like arsenic and lead). And for another, many of the ingredients in these gas station products that have been chemically analyzed are things not found in nature. So far, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested hundreds of these products and found that nearly 300 of them contain undisclosed drug ingredients. In other words, what a product claims to contain may not even be remotely related to what it actually contains.

Some of these “natural” products were found by the FDA to contain the same active ingredients found in FDA-approved drugs for ED (like Viagra). Knowing this won’t stop some men, whose attitude is, “Hooray! Viagra without talking to my doctor!” The problem is, the dosages of these ingredients are all over the place, and furthermore, sometimes active ingredients are combined in excessively high doses. You simply can’t know unless the products are chemically analyzed.

What Are the Risks of Taking Them?

If you don’t know what’s in a product, and it contains, say, sildenafil or tadalafil (the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis), it could be at a dosage that’s completely wrong for you. It could interact with other drugs you take. Or it could contain multiple active ingredients that aren’t approved for treating anything. One product tested contained 31 times the prescription dose of tadalafil, and was combined with an antidepressant called dapoxetine, which is not FDA-approved. The FDA has found that some products contain as many as six ingredients used in FDA-approved prescription drugs, and / or analogs of these ingredients. Nobody knows how dangerous they are because they haven’t been studied at all.

The bottom line is, you take a huge risk consuming these products. As uncomfortable as you might be speaking with a doctor about ED and prescriptions that treat it, think how it would feel explaining your symptoms to a seasoned triage nurse when you have to be rushed to the ER.

Warning Signs That You Should Avoid a Product

This applies to all “supplements” or “natural” products, not just those that claim to treat ED. The FDA says that you should avoid supplements that:

  • Suggest or claim that they’re “natural” or “herbal” alternatives to prescription medications
  • Claim to produce results in less than an hour
  • Market themselves as alternatives to prescription medications
  • Are sold in single-serve packs
  • Advertise via email spam
  • Are labeled in a foreign language
  • Contain “warnings” that make them look like FDA-approved drugs

Sure, they may save you money and time compared to obtaining Viagra from a doctor, but they could end up costing you significantly more time and money (or worse) if you should experience complications.

What to Do if You Think You Took a Dangerous Product

If you took a questionable product and became ill, you should seek medical help first and foremost. Additionally, the FDA has channels for reporting any “natural” product or dietary supplement that consumers believe to contain dangerous ingredients. You, your healthcare provider, or both can report any illness or symptoms you think were caused by consuming one of these products.

What if It’s Just a Company With a Really Good Price on Viagra?


One word describes online “Viagra” for a couple of dollars per pill: fake.

One word describes online “Viagra” for a couple of dollars per pill: fake.

Maybe you know better than to treat ED with products you can buy alongside a lottery ticket and a six-pack, but what about these places online that have really low prices on Viagra and its competitors? They’re fake. Almost always. The counterfeit market for ED medications is a multi-billion dollar per year industry worldwide, and the drugs often look so realistic they can’t be distinguished from the real product without chemical analysis.

And when chemical analyses are performed, some of the ingredients found in these products are startling: paint, printer ink, wallboard, and even rat poison. In 2009, fake ED drugs caused 11 deaths and 24 coma cases in Singapore. The people who make these products don’t care one bit about your well-being or sex life. All they care about is your money.


So what is a man to do if he believes he has ED, but is less than happy about the prospect of describing his symptoms to his doctor? The best thing is to move past the self-consciousness. Urologists and general practitioners have seen it all, and your ED symptoms won’t so much as raise an eyebrow (unless it indicates possible early coronary disease, in which case your doctor will be primarily concerned about your heart).

If taking time out of your day to visit your doctor, obtain a prescription, and have it filled is impractical, you have other options too. You can, for example, work with an online medical facilitator that can put you in touch with a doctor who can, if you’re determined to be an appropriate candidate for ED medications, create an electronic prescription that you can have filled and shipped right to your house.

Always look for a medical facilitator located in the US, with a real street address and corresponding phone number to prove it. Make sure they sell genuine name brand ED medications (because no generics are approved for sale yet in the US) complete with lot numbers and other information you can use to confirm that it’s the actual product.

At, we have worked with US-licensed pharmacists for over 15 years, bringing name brand ED medications to over half a million satisfied customers. What’s more, we offer fast, discreet shipping, and use the most stringent online security practices so do get in touch if you believe we can be of help.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+