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Last updated: Sep 15, 2022
3 min read

Do you need a prescription for Viagra?

 

Disclaimer

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.

Ah, Viagra (active ingredient, sildenafil): the little blue pill that continues to take the world by storm since its first introduction as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) in the late 90s. If you are one of the millions of people with difficulties getting or maintaining an erection, you might want to know how you can get your hands on some Viagra. Because ED is so common, you may be wondering if there’s a way to get Viagra without a prescription so that you can avoid a potentially “awkward” conversation with your healthcare provider. 

So, do you need a prescription for Viagra? The answer is yes. You can’t get Viagra without a prescription, but don’t despair! Millions of people struggle with erectile dysfunction every year, and your provider has probably treated ED many times before. There is nothing embarrassing about seeking help for a common condition; your provider is there to help you find an ED treatment plan that works for you.

Keep reading to learn more about where to get Viagra and why you need a prescription. 

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Why do you need a prescription for Viagra?

Yes, you need a prescription for Viagra and its generic equivalent, sildenafil. 

Viagra (and its generic equivalent, sildenafil; see Important Safety Information)  is an oral medication that treats erectile dysfunction (ED). Along with Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil), Viagra is part of a family of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors, which work by keeping blood vessels relaxed. This encourages blood flow to the penis, producing and maintaining an erection (Dhaliwal, 2022).

So, why does the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require a prescription for these meds? Because all erectile dysfunction medications, including Viagra, come with a risk of side effects, potentially dangerous contraindications (people with certain medical conditions may not be able to take ED medications safely), and drug interactions. For example, nitrates, a medication for heart disease and chest pain, can be fatal if taken with ED meds because both medications together can make your blood pressure plummet (Tran, 2003). 

That’s why it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking or any underlying medical conditions you have so they can find the best treatment option for you.

They can take an accurate medical history and determine if any medications or supplements are contraindicated or if your ED results from an underlying condition that needs further treatment. For example, ED could be linked to (Rew, 2016): 

Over-the-counter Viagra 

You can’t get Viagra or any PDE-5 inhibitors over-the-counter, and you should stay far away from any black market pills or over-the-counter products claiming to have the same ingredients or work the same way as Viagra. 

Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world. You don’t know what you’re getting when you buy an unregulated substitute for the real thing. One study showed that many of the pills being sold as “sildenafil” or “Viagra” actually contained dangerous substances, like blue printer ink, amphetamines (“speed”), too much of the active ingredient sildenafil or not enough, the antibiotic metronidazole, and drywall (Jackson, 2010; Pfizer, n.d.). 

How to get Viagra

So, where can you get Viagra (or other PDE-5 inhibitors)? From your healthcare provider (if deemed appropriate for you).

While there’s nothing to be embarrassed about (remember, your doc has seen it all!), talking about ED might be a tough pill to swallow for some. Luckily, many online options are now available, so you can often avoid the face-to-face interaction if that worries you. Online options also mean you can receive ED medication prescriptions safely and discreetly at home. 

Just be sure you get your prescription from a reputable company that only works with US-licensed providers. That way, you’ll know you are being appropriately evaluated and getting a legit prescription.

We get it. Talking about ED can be intimidating or embarrassing. But you owe it to yourself to speak with a healthcare professional today. ED affects millions of people. Get the medical advice you need to treat your ED and improve your sex life.

References

  1. Dhaliwal, A. & Gupta, M. (2022). PDE5 inhibitor. StatPearls. Retrieved on Sep. 15, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/
  2. Jackson, G., Arver, S., Banks, I., & Stecher, V. J. (2010). Counterfeit phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors pose significant safety risks. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 64(4), 497–504. doi:0.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02328.x. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069491/ 
  3. Pfizer. (n.d.). Viagra: Avoid counterfeits. Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2021 from https://www.viagra.com/en/avoid-counterfeits 
  4. Rew, K. T. & Heidelbaugh, J. J. (2016). Erectile dysfunction. American Family Physician, 94(10), 820–827. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27929275/ 
  5. Tran, D. & Howes, L. G. (2003). Cardiovascular safety of sildenafil. Drug Safety, 26(7), 453–460. doi:10.2165/00002018-200326070-00002. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12735784/