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Can you safely buy original Viagra tablets over the counter in the UK?

Given the different variants of Viagra available to buy, it is easy to perceive why there is some confusion about whether it is available over-the-counter (OTC) or only with a doctor's approval. These pills can be obtained either way. Whether a prescription is necessary, however, depends on what specific dosage is required.  

Is it legal to buy over-the-counter Viagra in the UK? 

Similarly to any other medication, Viagra is absorbed by the body and causes specific changes. As every individual has unique bodily chemistry influenced by their weight and lifestyle choices, it’s crucial to make sure that any new pharmaceuticals will work and not bring any harm.

Following consultation and recommendation from the Commission on Human Medicines, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products, Regulatory Agency) made the decision to reclassify it from prescription-only to something that can be bought easily, without needing to visit a doctor. As result, Viagra Connect is available legally over the counter in the UK. This was spurred by concerns that sufferers who may not seek aid within the official healthcare system and instead purchase from illegitimate websites. However, this only comes in 50mg - a dosage which for some men is either too little or too large.

To obtain strengths in either 25mg or 100mg therefore requires a prescription. This is to ensure that the patient has been thoroughly assessed and that these dosages will be neither ineffective nor overly strong.

Getting either of these amounts without written confirmation from a medical practitioner is not only illegal but also risky practice. Knowing that you can get it from some stockists with no questions asked may seem convenient but also presents considerable danger. Reputable sellers abide by the law: if tablets in these dosages are being sold by businesses that don’t request any documentation they are probably operating illegally and more likely to flog a counterfeit and possibly unsafe product (though there are reliable online apothecaries that sell it OTC - mostly foreign ones). How to get ED medication is therefore subject to what strength is required.

Minimising risk - can you buy Viagra over the counter safely?

Those who have made the decision to try these pills often have practical questions such as “can you buy Viagra over the counter, and if so, where can I buy it?”.

The answer to the first of these queries is yes, these tablets in one specific form are available without needing to book a GP appointment. As discussed previously, Viagra Connect is unique in that it is the first over-the-counter treatment for ED that can be accessed in person or via the internet. Manufactured in one single dosage of 50mg, it is popular due to its accessibility for men shopping online.

It is a regulated medication that can be purchased safely when sourced from a reputable stockist.

Purchasing ED pills online without the need for a prescription - is it possible?

Although buying pharmaceuticals for impotence online is indeed possible, there are a few things that should be remembered when using the internet to buy medication. Although it is undoubtedly a brilliant tool for instantly and easily finding what you need, the internet remains largely unregulated. This has created the ideal realm for which unscrupulous sellers thrive - often taking advantage of the fact that for many men suffering from serious ED, it remains the preferable channel to repeatedly purchase Viagra due to the competitive prices online stores offer. The question that should always remain pertinent is: “how can I get ED tablets without prescription safely?”.

It is important to check who sells the product. Pay attention to reviews and ratings, and question any suspiciously sparse websites or negative comments left by previous customers. Scammers or bad sellers can also create convincingly trustworthy websites, so be as diligent as you can be - for example, check that there is a contact address or email for a customer service department and be wary of any deals that seem too good to be true.

There are some online pharmacies that sell it on a non-prescription basis, and these are likely located in countries with differing laws. Regardless of this, the best practice when choosing to purchase Viagra is from a fully trusted, GPhC-registered pharmacy regulated by the CQC.

Exploring alternatives: Are there any substitutes?

If after experimenting with sildenafil it is realised that it has little effect on lessening erectile dysfunction, there is the option to try alternate drugs with differing active ingredients. Despite the fact that all the recommended substitutes are PDE 5 inhibitors, they contain different ingredients, sometimes prescribed in alternative strengths and thus interact slightly differently and uniquely with the body. Please see below for some of the best alternatives in England:

Sildenafil - Viagra's cheaper alternative

Sildenafil is renowned for being sold under the brand name Viagra - arguably the most famous name of ED pharmaceuticals. Originally conceived as a treatment for angina and other complicated symptoms relating to heart disease, this vasodilator was the active ingredient and has gone onto be a trusted, and recognisable name emblazoned on its brand name’s packaging. However, generic Sildenafil is a more affordable option.

It should be taken half an hour before getting intimate.

Tadalafil - A long-lasting option

Tadalafil is also good at easing symptoms inherent to impotence. It is usually sold under its respective brand name, Cialis, and is known for its longevity (36 hours). It is manufactured by the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, but a generic option is also available. In addition to inducing erections, it is also suitable for the benign prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate symptoms). This is normally linked to hormonal changes.

Vardenafil - for fast-acting effects

The third and final noteworthy substitute is Levitra, manufactured by Bayer Corporation in Germany and distributed by British multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company Glaxo Smith Kline. It uses the active ingredient vardenafil, which distinguishes itself from sildenafil citrate by its structure - specifically through its nitrogen atom’s position.

This drug can be taken with a moderate amount of alcohol and, besides lasting 4-5 hours, has the fastest onset of effects and can be taken a mere 25 minutes before engaging in sex. This makes it an excellent choice for men who want almost instant results, or who enjoy socialising.

Despite their similarities and the shared problem they target, these substitutes remain unique and possess their own contraindications and side effects. For men considering buying any, it is sensible to read the tablet's instructions and speak to a doctor before commencing usage.



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