ExtenZe is a herbal nutritional supplement claiming to promote "natural male enhancement", a euphemism for penis enlargement. Additionally, television commercials and advertisements claim an "improved" or "arousing" sexual experience. Websites selling the product make several more detailed claims, including acquiring a "larger penis". Their enlarging effects are described as "temporary" which will only provide a "chubby one" while under the use of Extenze. Early infomercials featured a studio audience and porn star Ron Jeremy. Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson has also appeared in an ExtenZe commercial.
Legal actions, criticisms, and controversy
A class action settlement has been proposed and preliminarily approved, to resolve plaintiff claims that ExtenZe maker Biotab Nutraceuticals, Inc engaged in deceptive marketing (advertising, labeling, promotion, etc.) by claiming it enlarged a man's penis despite the lack of any credible scientific evidence supporting that claim. Claimants can file claims for a full refund of documented purchases of ExtenZe, and a refund for up to $22.50 of undocumented purchases. The complaint also claims that the claims were made in violation of a pre-existing court-ordered injunction. As of September 2011[update], the settlement has been awaiting a ruling from the court on a motion for final approval for 6 months.
In 2006, ExtenZe agreed to pay the Orange County, California, district attorney's office $300,000 in civil penalties for unfair business practices and false advertising. Susan Kang Schroeder of the DA's office said the company could not back up its claim that the pills caused users' penises to grow 27%. After several customers in Laguna Beach, California complained to the Better Business Bureau that ExtenZe was making them sick, the district attorney investigated. Investigations revealed that ExtenZe’s lead content was beyond the legal limits.
Ira Sharlip, a spokesman for the American Urological Association, has said, "There is no such thing as a penis pill that works. These are all things that are sold for profit. There's no science or substance behind them." The manufacturer does not give an exact increase in length that one should expect to be grown after using the pills but it does however state that the results are temporary and that they are to be seen only as long as the supplement is administered. Although it has been marketed as a completely safe product, there have been side effects reported while using this product. Side effects from ExtenZe may include heart palpitations, migraines, dizzy spells, insomnia, anxiety and mood swings.
The ExtenZe side effects associated with the yohimbe extract include increased body temperature, increased blood pressure, sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, and upset stomach. Other side effects can include aggression, pounding heart, restlessness, fever, feeling like fainting, hallucinations, muscle twitches or spasms, abnormal behavior, severe headache, bruising easily, shortness of breath, blurred vision, seizures, ringing in the ears, chest pain, confusion, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, insomnia, mild skin rash, nervousness, cold feeling in the feet or hands, tingling or numbness in the feet or hands, and difficulty staying asleep.
Individuals who are on prescription medication or who suffer from various medical conditions are recommended to consult a medical care provider before consuming ExtenZe. Also, if side effects are experienced, one is advised to interrupt taking the pills and visit a doctor.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams Front Row Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports have sued both driver Kevin Conway and ExtenZe for lack of payment. The original contract with FRM stipulated that Conway be placed in a top-35 car, and if Conway failed to qualify for two consecutive events or fell 300 points behind another rookie, the contract would be terminated. Conway's marketing firm, Exclaim, was also contractually obligated to pay the team in weekly installments. However, during the summer of 2010, Exclaim started to pay about $56,000, half of the intended $108,000. FRM is suing for $5.4 million. In Gordon's case, ExtenZe initially agreed to give him money in exchange for putting their logo on Gordon's car. However, when Conway was in danger of falling out of the top-35 in owners points, Gordon asked to drive the car with ExtenZe sponsorship and they initially agreed. However, ExtenZe refused to pay Gordon citing a breach of contract.
Sports and doping
In 2010, 400-meter Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt was banned from competition for taking ExtenZe, which contains dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid that is banned in athletic competition. Merritt apologized, saying that he did not realize that the formulation contained DHEA. Merritt provisionally accepted a two-year ban from competition, although he announced plans to appeal. Sports authorities, however, were not sympathetic:
"Any professional athlete in this sport knows that they are solely responsible for anything that goes into their bodies. For Mr. Merritt to claim inadvertent use of a banned substance due to the ingestion of over-the-counter supplements brings shame to himself and his teammates. Thanks to his selfish actions, he has done damage to our efforts to fight the plague of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport," USA Track and Field CEO Doug Logan said in a press release.
Late in 2011, however, his ban ended and he was cleared to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
The product is manufactured by BIOTAB Nutraceuticals, Incorporated.
The following ingredients comprise ExtenZe, as reported on the images of labels on vendor websites:
- Folate (folic acid)
- Zinc (as oxide)
- Micronized DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)
- Pregnanolone (3β-hydroxypregn-5-en-20-one)
- Black pepper (seed)
- Piper longum (seed)
- Ginger (root)
- Yohimbe extract (bark)
- Tribulus terrestris extract (aerial part and fruit)
- Korean ginseng extract (root)
- Cnidium monnieri (seed)
- Eleutherococcus extract (root) standardized to .8% eleuthrosides
- Xanthroparmelia scarbosa (aerial part)
- γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- Velvet deer antler
- Horny goat weed (leaf)
- Damiana (leaf)
- Muira puama extract (stem)
- Pumpkin (seed)
- Stinging nettle (root)
- Astragalus (root)
- Licorice extract (root)
- L-arginine hydrochloride
- Ho Shou Wu extract (root)
- Boron (as chelate)
- Other ingredients include dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, stearic acid, film coating (dextrin), titanium dioxide, hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose, Brilliant Blue FCF, aluminum lake, Macrogol/PEG 8000, dextrose monohydrate, lecithin, maltodextrin, Macrogol/PEG 400, magnesium stearate, and silica.
- Haldane, David (25 July 2006). "Enhancement Marketer Is Fined for False Advertising". Los Angeles Times.
- Ahrens, Frank (September 26, 2004). "Miracle Infomercials: TV's Hard Sells Are a $256 Billion Business". The Washington Post.
- "Jimmy Johnson, ExtenZe Spokesman! Coach To Pitch 'Male Enhancement' Pills". The Huffington Post. 2010-02-05.
- "ExtenZe Settlement".
- "Second Amended" (PDF). ExtenZe Settlement.
- 'No Science' Behind Male Pill's Claims / Best bet? Deal with it, Newsday
- "What is ExtenZe?". Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Extenze Side Effects". Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "ExtenZe Complaints - Side effects". Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Olympics Blog". The Los Angeles Times. 2010-04-22.
- "Olympics Blog". Los Angeles Times.