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Rhino pills: effective ED treatment or scam?

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Michael Martin 

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Michael Martin 

LAST UPDATED: Sep 22, 2023


Sex is an important aspect of our lives, so it's not uncommon to come across various supplements and products claiming to enhance one's sexual prowess. Rhino pills, often marketed as dietary supplements to improve sexual performance, have gained some attention in recent years. But the crucial question before you buy that shiny packet is, "Do Rhino pills actually work?"

There are many male enhancement pills on the market. Some are known as "Rhino pills," which are sold in a number of varieties, including Rhino 69, Gold Rhino 25000, Platinum Rhino 25000, Krazzy Rhino 25000, and other variations of the name. They often come in similar packaging, with an image of a large rhino. But questionable branding isn't the only issue with these alleged erection enhancers. Here's what you need to know about Rhino pills for men, and ​​why you should opt for science-based products to safely treat common sexual performance issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED), instead.


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What are Rhino pills?

Rhino pills are a "male enhancement" or "sexual enhancement" product you'll find at some convenience stores or gas station, often referred to as “gas station pills”. Like most products of this type, they contain a number of herbs and supplements purported to improve erections by making them easier to get or longer lasting—something you may be interested in if you have erectile dysfunction (difficulty getting or maintaining an erection—aka ED).

These over-the-counter sexual enhancement products aren’t approved by the FDA, and they do not require a prescription. But they can be dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about severe side effects. Some pills may contain ingredients not listed on the label—including substances that should only be dispensed by prescription because of the risk of side effects or dangerous drug interactions. They may also contain cheaper, untested, experimental versions of the active ingredients of some ED drugs.

Do Rhino pills work?

Don’t be deceived by the flashy packaging. Rhino male enhancement pills may seem to “work” at first—after all, they contain ingredients that increase blood flow and swelling in the penis. The problem is that the substances (and amounts) they contain are either unstudied and unregulated or illegal to sell without a prescription. So you may get an erection, but that erection may come with unpredictable and dangerous side effects.

It’s illegal to sell prescription drugs over the counter because they can have dangerous—sometimes fatal—side effects if they aren’t appropriate for you to take, and it takes a licensed clinician to help you determine that.

Rhino pills warnings 

The Food & Drug Administration has issued warnings about Rhino pills in a section of its site called "Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products".

A couple of years ago, the FDA advised consumers not to buy Rhino pills because of "undeclared and potentially dangerous drug ingredients". The agency had received reports of people experiencing "chest pain, severe headaches, and prolonged erections after taking a Rhino product, leading to surgical intervention and hospitalization due to extreme drops in blood pressure."

Many Rhino products contain the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis, but these ingredients are undeclared and unlicensed. That means they could have serious safety concerns (FDA, 2018). 

In December 2019, the FDA issued another public notification urging people not to buy Rhino pills. The agency's lab testing found that Super Platinum 30000 RHINO 7 contained tadalafil (brand name Cialis), a prescription drug for ED. Because it's illegal to include prescription drugs in over-the-counter products, the medication wasn't listed as an ingredient in the Rhino pills. That's potentially very dangerous, as tadalafil (and other ED medications) can interact with other medications in potentially deadly ways.

Rhino pills side effects

The Rhino pills side effects the FDA warned about are precisely what happened to one writer for Vice, who detailed a gory experience with Rhino pills. Hoping to improve his sexual performance, he bought a packet of "Rhinozen Black Fire" from a corner store and, after taking one dose, experienced heart palpitations, light-headedness, and chest pain.

A case report of a 25-year-old man who had taken Rhino 7 Platinum 3000 noted that he developed priapism—again, that's an erection that would not go away—and had to have a shunt placed to help the blood drain from his penis. Two weeks later, he developed fibrosis (scarring) and could not get an erection.

In the multiple warnings by the FDA, some of the concerning side effects of rhino pills include dangerous drops in blood pressure, chest pain, prolonged erections, and potential drug interactions.

Over-the-counter Viagra

You can't buy Viagra (sildenafil) over-the-counter. All ED medications require a prescription, and as you've just read, there are good reasons. They are vasodilators, meaning they cause blood vessels in the body to dilate (open). That has the potential to cause side effects, and you shouldn't take them if you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain other medications.

To be safe, assume that any "male enhancement" or "sexual enhancement" product you see on store shelves, or anything marketed as "natural Viagra," is ineffective at best and potentially dangerous at worst. That's because the FDA doesn't regulate dietary supplements like prescription drugs.

There’s a slight—slight—caveat to that. Some legitimate scientific studies have found that certain herbs and nutritional supplements may benefit your erection. These supplements, sold online and in vitamin and health-food stores, include L-arginine, DHEA, ginseng, L-carnitine, and yohimbe.

Alternatives to Rhino sex pills

If you are having trouble getting or staying hard, there are medications that are proven to work and safe when taken as prescribed. They all belong to a group called PDE-5 inhibitors, and as of now, there are four FDA-approved prescription ED medications: Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), Tadalafil (brand name Cialis), Vardenafil (brand name Levitra), and Avanafil (brand name Stendra). It’s easier than ever to get ED meds online, shipped discreetly to your home after a healthcare provider asks you some questions and prescribes these drugs, if appropriate for you.

In addition to erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and other supplements, products like cock rings and penis pumps can help you get and keep an erection during sex. Whatever method you choose to treat erectile dysfunction, ED is a common problem and nothing to be ashamed of. Instead of taking unproven and potentially harmful rhino pills, talk to your healthcare provider or make an appointment through a telehealth service to start treating your ED.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

September 22, 2023

Written by

Michael Martin

Fact checked by

Chimene Richa, MD

About the medical reviewer

Dr. Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and medical writer for Ro.

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