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Where can I buy Viagra? There’s only one safe and legal option

chimene richa

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, written by Michael Martin

Last updated: Oct 10, 2022
3 min read

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.

With over 30 million men impacted by erectile dysfunction (ED) each year, you may wonder, where can I buy Viagra? Unfortunately, you can’t buy Viagra just anywhere. The only way to safely obtain Viagra (or sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra) is with a prescription from a healthcare provider. If you prefer to skip the face-to-face conversation with a healthcare provider about your symptoms, there are now many discreet options to buy Viagra online and have your prescription shipped safely to your door.

Why does the FDA require a prescription for Viagra? Although Viagra and other ED medications are safe and effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, you shouldn’t take them lightly. They can cause common side effects like headaches, facial flushing, nasal congestion, stomach upset, and backache. More severe side effects can include vision changes and priapism (painful erections lasting over four hours) (Smith, 2022).

If you notice changes to your erections, like difficulty getting or maintaining an erection sufficient for satisfying sex, consult a healthcare provider. Erectile dysfunction is sometimes caused by a serious underlying medical condition, including heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, or depression. A healthcare professional should take your full medical history before prescribing Viagra.

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Counterfeit Viagra

Not surprisingly, Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world. (Anyone who’s been a victim of online pop-up ads touting Viagra prescriptions for cents on the dollar can attest to this).

When you buy an unregulated substitute for the real thing, you don’t know what you’re getting. In 2011, Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, investigated counterfeits by buying them online and testing their contents. Some of the pills they received contained blue printer ink, amphetamines (“speed”), an antibiotic called metronidazole, too much of the active ingredient sildenafil (or not enough), and drywall (Pfizer, n.d.). 

Hopefully, we’ve made the point: Obtaining Viagra without a prescription or consulting with a healthcare provider is risky and can have serious health risks. For your safety, stay away from products claiming to sell Viagra or other prescription drugs like Cialis (tadalafil; see Important Safety Information) over the counter.

What is Viagra?

Viagra (generic sildenafil; see Important Safety Information), is a prescription medication that treats erectile dysfunction (ED). The active ingredient is sildenafil citrate.

Viagra comes in three doses: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, taken as needed between 30 minutes and four hours before sexual activity. 

How does Viagra work?

Viagra is part of a class of drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors. These drugs inhibit the body’s production of an enzyme called PDE-5, which relaxes the blood vessels in the penis and encourages blood flow, resulting in firmer and longer-lasting erections (Smith, 2022).

Viagra can help you achieve an erection 30 minutes to one hour after taking it and can last in the bloodstream for up to four to five hours. However, one study showed that some patients saw results in as little as 12 minutes (Eardley, 2002). But Viagra is not a magic pill. The drug requires sufficient sexual stimulation and arousal to work properly.  Several variables may also affect how well the drug works for you, including your age and health status.

If you experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction, many safe and effective treatment options are available to you (medication and otherwise). Should you choose to treat erectile dysfunction with medication, consult your healthcare provider to make a treatment plan that will work for you.

References

  1. Eardley, I., Ellis, P., Boolell, M., & Wulff, M. (2002). Onset and duration of action of sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 53(Suppl 1), 61S–65S. doi:10.1046/j.0306-5251.2001.00034.x. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874251/ 
  2. Pfizer. (n.d.). Viagra: Avoid counterfeits. Retrieved on June 30, 2020 from https://www.viagra.com/en/avoid-counterfeits 
  3. Smith, B. P. & Babos, M. (2022). Sildenafil. StatPearls. Retrieved on Oct. 10, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558978/

Dr. Chimene Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and Senior Medical Writer/Reviewer at Ro.