Buying Viagra Online – How Safe Is It?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a very common condition affecting over 30 million men worldwide.1 It is the inability to get and maintain an erection. The incidence of this condition increases with age, although it still has a high prevalence in younger men.2 When the symptoms of ED have been present for more than a few weeks it is best to get checked out by a medical professional. Your GP can assess your overall health and try to determine the cause of the ED. Sometimes this condition can be a sign of underlying health problems such as heart disease and can also be associated with diabetes, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. The GP can diagnose ED and provide an appropriate treatment for your condition.

Another option if you do not want to go to your regular family doctor about this problem, or if this is not convenient for you, is to get the appropriate medication online. This is not simply a case of just buying a medication. Viagra and its generic form, sildenafil, are Prescription Only Medications (POMs) and so cannot be bought; a prescription from a doctor is required. This is, of course, the same for other well known ED medications such as Cialis and Levitra.

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doctorThere are numerous online pharmacies in the UK. These allow you to read and review information on the medication you are wishing to obtain and then have an online consultation with a General Medical Council certified doctor, for example through an online questionnaire. This will then be reviewed by the doctor and if appropriate a prescription for the medication can be issued, and either sent to your preferred pharmacy or dispensed by the company’s pharmacy and delivered to your home.

This process is basically the equivalent of seeing a private doctor, and the medication will require payment. If for some reason the medication is not suitable for you, you will generally be offered alternative medical advice. Another medication may be a better option for you or in some cases, the type of medication may not be suitable at all and so may require you to have an in-depth consultation with your GP to find out what your options are.

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If you decide to go through this process to obtain medication for your ED, there are a few things to do to ensure you are going through a legitimate doctor and pharmacy, and therefore be assured of the safety and quality of the medication, and that it is actually what it is being advertised to be. The process should require you to have some form of consultation with a doctor about your current and past health status. If this does not occur you are simply buying a POM which is against the law.

You will also not have been reviewed to ensure that this medication is suitable for you. The way in which Viagra works means that it can cause side effects and interactions with other medications that may make it unsuitable or even dangerous to be used by certain people. If you do not have a consultation with a doctor, you cannot be sure that this medicine will be safe for you. There should be information about the doctor on the website and this should include a GMC (General Medical Council) number, which shows that they are a registered UK doctor.

SafetyOne thing you must be wary of when buying medications privately online is the availability of counterfeit medications. This is a growing trend in recent years. Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs worldwide.1 Counterfeit drugs are not just cheap “knock-offs” of legitimate branded or generic medication. They are illegal as they have not received a licence to approve them for sale, and therefore there are no regulatory controls relating to them. You cannot be sure of the quality of the medication, the strength that is actually in it or even that it contains the medication that it says it does.3

They may also contain contaminants or ingredients not listed on the packaging which could be potentially harmful. A study by Pfizer, the manufacturers of Viagra, found many sites selling counterfeit Viagra, and in these they found blue printer ink; amphetamines (speed); metronidazole – an antibiotic which people can be allergic to, and cause side effects such as diarrhoea and vomiting; and overdoses of Viagra.1 This highlights the importance of using a legitimate source to obtain the medication you need.

It is also important not to purchase so-called “herbal Viagra”. This is not a real medication. It has not been approved and there are no controls over its manufacture or sale. Anything claiming to be herbal Viagra may also be fake or unsafe. They could contain anything as no one is regulating them. Anything claiming to herbal may be suggesting that it is a safer alternative but this is not the case. Some of these medications may be contaminated with ingredients which should not be used in humans or even with POMs.

In conclusion, Viagra can be obtained online, through a consultation with a registered doctor to ensure that the medication is safe and suitable for you. Counterfeit Viagra and “herbal” Viagra are usually unsafe versions and may not contain anything to actually treat the symptoms of ED. ED is a legitimate medical condition and so needs a proper medical treatment. It is important not to put yourself at risk by choosing a medication that may be cheaper but is most likely unsafe. Your health is the most important thing, and you must protect it by obtaining your medications legitimately to ensure their safety, quality and that they will treat your symptoms effectively.

 

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References

  1. Pfizer: Viagra https://www.viagra.com/questions Accessed 07.05.15
  2. NHS Choices: Erectile Dysfunction http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Treatment.aspx Accessed 07.05.15
  3. WHO: Counterfeit Drugs http://www.who.int/medicines/services/counterfeit/overview/en/ Accessed 07.05.15

 

Assured Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].