Can You Buy Viagra Over the Counter? Your Options, Explained

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
14th July 2021

In 30 seconds…

Since 2018, Viagra has been available over the counter as Viagra Connect. Both Viagra and Viagra Connect contain the same active ingredient: Sildenafil. However, Viagra Connect is only available over the counter in the licensed strength of 50mg.

In order to purchase Viagra Connect over the counter, you will be required to fill out a medical questionnaire which will be reviewed and authorised by the pharmacist.

Viagra, known as the blue pill, can be prescribed by doctors or clinicians in strengths of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. Most will prescribe the 50mg tablet at first to patients who are just starting to take Viagra. You can also buy Viagra, generic unbranded Sildenafil, and other licensed ED treatments online, from approved websites, without needing to visit your GP.

Even though erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that affects millions of men across the UK, sitting in the doctor’s waiting room ready to discuss the issue can still feel pretty nerve-wracking.

But you don’t have to let that stop you seeking treatment and getting your sex life back on track. There are safe, legal options for buying Viagra that don’t involve a visit to your GP.

Can You Buy Viagra Over the Counter?

A straightforward answer: Yes! Since 2018, the ED medication Viagra has been available over the counter at many pharmacies, under the brand name Viagra Connect – only in the licensed strength of 50mg. 

After a public consultation in 2017, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) decided to allow Pfizer, which manufactures Viagra, to create an over the counter version of the drug. The MHRA’s decision was aimed at preventing illegal sales of ED treatments from unlicensed sites. 

Out of embarrassment, many men were buying medicines online that were sold as Viagra, but actually contained counterfeit medicines. Men were also turning to unlicensed and potentially harmful remedies, such as Kamagra (an oral jelly that claims falsely to contain the same ingredients as Viagra).

With Viagra Connect and approved alternatives, you don’t have to risk buying ED medication from an unsafe source; you just need a quick chat with your pharmacist.

Viagra vs. Viagra Connect

So, you might be wondering if there’s any difference between Viagra and its over-the-counter branded alternative. Essentially, Viagra and Viagra Connect are almost exactly the same. They both contain the active ingredient Sildenafil, which is also available as a generic unbranded tablet. Sildenafil is a drug that helps improve blood flow to the penis, allowing you to achieve a firm, longer-lasting erection more easily.

As we mentioned in the introduction, the major difference between Viagra and Viagra Connect is that Viagra Connect is only available as a 50mg tablet. Viagra, on the other hand, is available in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg tablets, so if you think you need a lower or higher dose you’ll need to consult your GP or use an approved online service. In any case, 50mg is usually what a doctor would prescribe first.

Otherwise, Viagra and Viagra Connect are both taken in the same way: one tablet about an hour before sex – and only one tablet per day.

Is Buying Viagra Over the Counter Safe?

When you go to the pharmacy to buy ED drugs, you’ll have a confidential discussion with the pharmacist, who’ll ask you questions about your health and medical history. Typically this takes the form of a tick box medical questionnaire, which is then reviewed by the pharmacist prior to supply. Based on your responses, they’ll decide which option is the safest and most effective for you.

As part of the sale, it is recommended that you document this with your GP and have a health-check within 6 months if the regular need for the medication is required. It’s important to be totally open and honest, and it’s particularly important to mention other medications – because they might interact with the Sildenafil in the tables to cause side effects.

What Are My Other Options for Buying Viagra?

You might decide against buying Viagra Connect from the pharmacy, perhaps because you feel you need a different dose of Viagra, maybe you want a more cost-effective ED treatment or maybe the discretion of an online solution is more appealing to you. If that’s the case, there are a couple of options open to you:

  • See your GP for a prescription. A prescription from your GP may allow you to get Viagra (or unbranded Sildenafil) for a lower cost than over-the-counter Viagra Connect. It’s also advisable to speak to your GP if you have other health concerns in addition to your ED: it could be that your ED is a symptom of a more serious condition.
  • Get an online prescription and buy from a reputable online service. Ordering Viagra online from a reputable website provides a safe, discreet, simple way to buy your ED medication. Once you’ve filled in the online medical assessment, the website’s clinical team will decide whether it’s safe for you to take Viagra. If the website offers a subscription service (like we do), this can be a very cost-effective solution.

Can I buy any other ED medications over the counter?

The only ED medication currently available over the counter in the UK is Viagra Connect. Therefore, if you feel this treatment isn’t right for you, you’ll need to consult your GP or try out an online service.

This applies, for example, when you want to take Tadalafil (brand name Cialis) instead of Viagra. Tadalafil is another licensed oral medication that treats ED, but it lasts for much longer – up to 36 hours (Viagra only lasts around four hours). Thus, men who prefer a bit more spontaneity in their sex lives will often turn to Tadalafil.

Cialis (Tadalafil)

The weekend pill

Known as the “weekend pill” because it is effective for up to 36 hours, Tadalafil is the generic, unbranded version of Cialis. Clinically proven to help you get an erection when you need it.

Best for
Weekend use
Effective in
Effective in 8 out of 10 men
2.5mg, 10mg, 20mg

Key Takeaways…

It’s simple to buy erectile dysfunction treatments over the counter at most pharmacies. However, if you want to save yourself a trip (and a few pounds to put towards that romantic weekend), it’s quick and cost-effective to order generic unbranded Sildenafil online via a licensed website. No need to let ED get you down when effective treatment is just a few clicks away.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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