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"You can get hard without expensive prescription drugs that have dangerous side effects!"

It's a familiar claim among sellers of online erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs -- and there are a lot of them. A search for "buy erectile dysfunction drugs" brings up nearly 22 million web sites.

On these sites, you can order medications like Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra and Staxyn (vardenafil), Stendra (avanafil), and Viagra (sildenafil) without a prescription. Or, you can get a "natural" herbal remedy that promises to give you the same results. Often these drugs cost far less than they would at your local pharmacy. Buying online also lets you bypass the embarrassment of having to discuss your erection problems with a doctor.

But are ED drugs purchased online safe? Experts say think twice before you buy.

The Truth About ED Drugs Sold Online

The erectile dysfunction drugs and herbal remedies you buy online aren't always what they seem. An FDA investigation found that more than one-third of "dietary supplements" sold for ED actually contained prescription drugs, including sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. Some ED drugs sold online contained entirely different medicines, such as the antibiotic metronidazole and the fertility drug clomiphene.  

Even if a drug contains the right medicine, it may not be the right dosage. When samples of 100-milligram Viagra tablets purchased online were tested, only 10% were even close to the advertised strength.   

When you buy from an unknown company, you run the risk of getting counterfeit medicines. By some estimates, more than half of all ED drugs sold online are fakes. Some of these drugs include ingredients you wouldn't want to put in your body -- things like talcum powder, paint, and printer ink.  

The FDA warns of several ED drugs in particular that contain harmful hidden ingredients, including:

  • Adam Free
  • Actra-Rx
  • Actra-Sx
  • Blue Steel
  • Energy Max
  • HS Joy of Love
  • Lady Shanghai
  • Libidus
  • Liviro3
  • Man Up Now
  • Nasutra
  • NaturalUP
  • Neophase
  • Shanghai Ultra
  • True Man
  • Vigor-25
  • Zimaxx

Health Risks of Online Drugs

Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Just like any other medicine, these drugs can have side effects.