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Viagra and sildenafil can be effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, but both medications require a prescription. Read on to find out how to get Viagra from your local pharmacy or through the mail.

Company logos for Hims, Ro, Optum Perks, and Lemonaid inside light blue circles arranged against a dark blue background.Share on Pinterest
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Viagra, also known as the “little blue pill,” is the brand name of an erectile dysfunction (ED) medication that was initially manufactured by Pfizer. The generic form of Viagra is sildenafil, and it’s also available to treat ED symptoms.

Viagra and sildenafil are effective treatment options for ED, but they both require a prescription. As a result, they aren’t as easy to purchase as over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, and they will require a consultation with a doctor.

If you’re comfortable talking about ED in person, you can meet with your doctor to discuss taking ED medications, or you can be connected with a healthcare professional virtually through several reputable online companies. Here, we discuss how to get Viagra and sildenafil and what you can expect from your consultation.

A 2017 study suggests that Viagra is one of the most counterfeited pills on the market. So it’s important to be careful and vigilant about purchasing ED pills, especially online. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re buying from a trusted source:

  • Try to get a prescription through your doctor if you can, and get the pill through a trusted pharmacy. This is one of the easiest ways to make sure your ED pill is from a reputable source.
  • Remember that you need a prescription to buy Viagra, even if it’s the generic form. If a website doesn’t require a consultation from a licensed professional or a prescription, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Look for multiple ways to contact customer service on the website. A good website, especially for drugs, has various methods of contact, such as email, phone, chat, and a contact form. The website should also have a legitimate United States postal address and phone number.
  • Look through the website for a list of licensed professionals who work with or consult with the brand.
  • Make sure the pill or brand is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and that the generic product is labeled “sildenafil,” as there is no other brand name for this drug, aside from Viagra and Revatio.

Viagra may not be the best option for everyone. Here’s why an alternative might be a better option for you:

  • You’re not seeing results with Viagra. Some folks may experience better results with an alternative medication such as tadalafil.
  • You don’t tolerate the side effects of Viagra or similar medications. In this case, nonmedication alternatives could be a better fit.
  • You’re taking a medication that may interact with Viagra.

FDA registered vs. approved

FDA registered means the FDA is aware that a product exists, but it doesn’t promote that the product is actually effective.

FDA approved means the product has been tested for safety and effectiveness.

All medical devices sold in the United States must be registered with the FDA. The devices are divided into three classes (1–3) based on the level of risk associated with the device.

Class 1 lists devices with the lowest risk, and class 3 includes those with higher risks.

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The first step to getting Viagra and sildenafil is to meet with a doctor online or in person. If your doctor believes that you’ll benefit from Viagra, they can send your prescription to a local pharmacy.

However, not all companies that offer online consultations allow your prescription to transfer to another pharmacy. So if you’re looking to avoid shipping delays, here are some options for getting Viagra at your local pharmacy.

Best for in-person care: Meeting with your doctor

If you’d like to get a Viagra prescription in person, talk with your doctor. Make sure they’re aware of any medications or supplements you’re taking.

Your doctor will also ask you about other symptoms you might be experiencing. ED is common, and it can occur for various reasons, including as a result of underlying medical conditions.

Once you have a prescription, you can fill it at your pharmacy or ask your doctor to send it directly to your nearest pharmacy.

MethodPrice*Generic, brand name, or both?DosesInitial consult available?
Doctor’s officevaries based on medication and pharmacybothbased on a doctor’s recommendationyes
Optum Perks$25 per consultation, medication cost varies based pharmacybothbased on a doctor’s recommendationyes
Hims• starting at $139 per dose of Viagra
• starting at $4 per dose of sildenafil
both• 25, 50, and 100 mg for Viagra
• 25, 50, and 100 100 mg for sildenafil
yes
Roman• $4–$10 per dose of sildenafil
• $90 per dose of Viagra
both 25, 50, and 100 mg for Viagra
• 25, 50, and 100 mg for sildenafil
yes
Lemonaid$2 per 20-mg pillgeneric only20 mgyes
*Prices accurate as of May 2024

You can’t get Viagra without a prescription, so we made sure to include only companies that require a prescription or provide a consultation with a healthcare professional who can write a prescription.

Each company we recommend undergoes a thorough vetting process. During this process, a team of experts carefully evaluates companies based on quality, accessibility, cost, and availability. This allows us to give you strong recommendations for products that offer good value for your money.

We also ensure that sponsors and business partners never influence our content.

In addition, we review BBB ratings (where applicable) and check to make sure none of these brands have FDA warning letters.

If you’d like to read more about our selection process and scoring system for telehealth platforms, check out Healthline Scores: How We Evaluate Men’s Telehealth Platforms.

Do I need a prescription for Viagra?

Yes. You need a prescription for both Viagra and generic sildenafil. You can get a prescription either in person or online. With an ever-growing number of telehealth companies providing remote services, it’s easy to skip an in-person doctor’s visit and request a prescription online.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to make sure the doctor you’re talking with knows about any other medications you’re taking and any additional symptoms you have.

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Take Viagra as directed. While various dosages are available, it’s important not to take more than your doctor prescribes.

While Viagra is considered safe to use, some people may experience mild side effects. However, some people have experienced serious side effects that would require emergency attention. These serious side effects include:

  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing
  • vision changes
  • prolonged erection, lasting 4 hours or more

Additionally, some medications can interact negatively with Viagra, including:

  • antibiotics
  • nitrates
  • antivirals
  • blood pressure medications

Always tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking. Some drug interactions can cause severe or fatal side effects.

When should I talk with a doctor about my ED symptoms?

ED can occur for many reasons, including as a result of an underlying health condition. Before you start taking any medication, it’s a good idea to connect with a doctor to find out whether something else is going on and if there’s another treatment to consider before taking medication.

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Since Viagra is in high demand and it’s easy to find medications online, counterfeit pills are no stranger to the market. But the effects of these fake pills are nothing to brush aside.

These falsified pills can contain a variety of ingredients that can be harmful to your body, some of which are not even regulated. Pills may contain higher-than-recommended doses of sildenafil citrate, as well as commercial-grade paints, non-purified talcum powder, gypsum, and other substances.

In addition to having a negative effect on your overall health, these contaminants could interact negatively with other medications you take.

If you’re interested in buying Viagra online, make sure the website you buy from requires you to have a prescription. No prescription requirement is often a giveaway that the medication is likely fake. Stick to accredited pharmacies and websites that you trust.

Learn more about the best ways to buy Viagra online.

Yes. You need a prescription for both Viagra and generic sildenafil. You can get a prescription either in person or online. With an ever-growing number of telehealth companies providing remote services, it’s easy to skip an in-person doctor’s visit and request a prescription online.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to make sure the doctor you’re talking with knows about any other medications you’re taking and any additional symptoms you have.

Like most other medications, Viagra has side effects that range from mild to severe. Due to these severe (but rare) side effects, Viagra requires a prescription.

These potentially serious effects include increased cardiac risk (especially for those with preexisting cardiovascular conditions), prolonged erections (priapism), loss of vision and hearing, low blood pressure, and others.

To avoid any complications, talk with your doctor about taking Viagra, whether it’s the brand name or generic. They could have suggestions for alternatives that could benefit you in the long run.

Viagra and sildenafil are both prescription medications, meaning they’re not available for OTC purchase at your local pharmacy.

But with telemedicine, it’s easier to get a prescription for these pills without visiting your doctor in person.

Some of the services we recommend above also offer delivery of these products straight to you so you don’t have to worry about picking up your prescription in person.

Yes. The packaging should list the expiration date. Once that date passes, the drug’s potency begins to decrease. To keep Viagra and other medications as long as possible, try these tips:

  • Store your medications at 68–86°F (20–30°C).
  • Don’t freeze or heat medications.
  • Make sure the lids on your medications are closed tightly.
  • Keep bottles away from sunlight.
  • Always follow the expiration date listed on the product.

Other ED medication options include:

You might also benefit from nonprescription alternatives, including lifestyle measures such as:

Viagra may be able to help improve your ED symptoms. If you’re interested in trying Viagra for ED, talk with a healthcare professional first. You’ll need a prescription to get started.

Thanks to emerging telehealth services, it’s now possible to get a Viagra prescription without stepping inside a doctor’s office. But be sure to provide online healthcare professionals with your complete medical history so they know what treatment will best fit your needs.

If you’re experiencing other symptoms in addition to ED, you may be better off meeting in person with a primary care doctor or a specialist, such as a urologist. They can assess your symptoms and determine whether an underlying condition is causing your ED, and they’ll be better able to offer solutions and next steps.


Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.