How To Get Viagra®: Online Options Included

October 20, 2021

Over 50% of men over the age of 40 have dealt with ED. It happens, and it happens to a lot of men. While it's a frustrating experience, several effective ED treatments are available. 

Arguably the most popular treatment for ED is the prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil). Since its approval about twenty years ago, it – and its newer, cheaper generic counterparts – have remained the market leaders. Viagra is the name most guys know.

But what exactly is Viagra, and perhaps more importantly, how do you get it?

What is Viagra and How Does It Work? 

Viagra is one in a class of medications known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. These drugs, including Cialis® (tadalafil) and Levitra® (vardenafil), work by improving the flow of blood to the penis, helping to create sustainable erections firm enough for sex. 

During the arousal process, your body releases certain chemical messengers that put in motion systems to create an erection. 

PDE5 inhibitors piggyback on this process, stopping the normal breakdown of one messenger and helping to expand blood vessels and relax muscles in the penis. As a result, more blood flows into the penis and less flows out, creating an erection. Think of PDE5 inhibitors as releasing the body's own "braking" mechanism on the erection process.

During an erection, the penis can contain seven times as much blood as normal!

Viagra (sildenafil) is typically taken in the one to three hours before sexual activity begins for maximum effect, which last for about four hours. The available doses of Viagra are 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. Most men new to a Viagra prescription begin at 25 or 50 mg, which can be increased if necessary. It’s important to not take more than 100 mg in a 24 hour period or you risk experiencing priapism, a persistent and often painful erection.


Are There Alternatives To Viagra? 

Other PDE5 inhibitors are available and work in a similar way. They are composed of different ingredients, however, and while they all work for most men, some guys find that they prefer one PDE5 inhibitor over another.

For example, the "active" ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil, whereas the active ingredient in Cialis is tadalafil. Both of these drugs are effective at treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, but they have different chemical compositions and active ingredients. 

Some men prefer Cialis, for example, because its effects last longer than Viagra. Viagra "works" for about 4 hours, meaning with some sexual stimulation you can get an erection during this process (to be clear, this doesn't mean a 4-hour erection). Cialis is known to work for as long as 36 hours; it simply stays in your system for longer, and during that time sexual stimulation results in an erection.

Viagra is sometimes considered the most "potent" of the PDE5 inhibitors, though this isn't borne out entirely in the medical research.

How Did Generic Viagra Become Generic? 

Sildenafil was originally being tested by scientists at Pfizer as a potential treatment for angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure). While sildenafil wasn’t very effective for treating either of these conditions, the scientists noted that the drug did seem to have a remarkable and positive effect on erections. What started out as an unusual side effect turned into the drug's primary purpose.

After years of studies and clinical trials, Pfizer took sildenafil to the FDA to request approval to market this drug as Viagra. Viagra hit the market in 1998 and became the world’s first oral medication for erectile dysfunction. The patents protecting Viagra from any competition expired about 15 years later, leading to generic sildenafil versions becoming an option in the last few years. 

From a chemical standpoint, Viagra and generic sildenafil are nearly identical and produce the same results.

The difference between Viagra and generic sildenafil options now on the market are the precise recipe and look of the tablet. They're like different versions of banana bread: different recipes, same outcome.

One important difference, however, is price. The generic version of a medication is always going to be cheaper, and in this case may be as much as 85% less expensive than the branded form of Viagra. Rex MD has generic sildenafil for as low as $40/month.

Do You Need A Prescription For Viagra?

Unless you live in the United Kingdom, you will need a prescription to purchase Viagra or generic sildenafil. There are actually plenty of good reasons why a prescription is required. While Viagra is generally considered safe for most healthy men, it can have some side effects and potentially dangerous interactions with other medications. It can also cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure in men with certain medical conditions. This is why a doctor's prescription is important.

Some of the most common side effects associated with Viagra include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Blue tinted vision
  • Blurred visions
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing in the face or body
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Rash
  • Runny nose

While most of these symptoms disappear when the drug leaves your system, typically after about four hours, they may continue for a few days or weeks. In the event that they're becoming more severe or haven’t gone away, seek medical attention.

In addition to side effects, Viagra can have negative interactions with other medications. 

Some of the most dangerous include:

  • Nitrates. Primarily used to treat angina, nitrates can result in a significant decrease in blood pressure when they are combined with Viagra. This can increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. 
  • High Blood Pressure Medications. When mixed with Viagra, medications used to treat hypertension can cause blood pressure to drop too low. ACE inhibitors, alpha blockers, beta blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, or calcium channel blockers should not be mixed with Viagra in most cases.
  • Illicit Drugs. Viagra used in conjunction with stimulants like cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines, or with anabolic steroids, can result in dangerous effects on both the heart and blood pressure. 

A doctor can help determine if prescription ED meds are right for you.

How Can You Get A Viagra Prescription?

There is always the traditional method of getting a prescription via your regular in-person healthcare provider. Chances are good that they've written many prescriptions for Viagra over the years given ED's frequency.

But since discussing erectile dysfunction can be a difficult, sensitive topic for most guys, this option isn't always appealing.

Furthermore, in order to get your medication, a trip to a pharmacy is required. Again, this can be uncomfortable given that your pharmacist or pharmacy tech sees your prescription. This is why the concept of telehealth is so compelling.

What Is Telehealth? 

Telehealth is a way for doctors to provide care for patients online, via phone, text, written assessment, or video conference. By increasing the hours of availability and the overall ease of accessibility, licensed clinicians are able to consult with many more patients much more efficiently. And, it's generally done from the privacy of home and at lower cost to the patient.

While telehealth can be a great option for common conditions or for medical questions, it's not an acceptable option for emergencies or major health complications. In these cases, in-person care should be your first option. 

How Do You Get a Prescription Via Telehealth? 

Since erectile dysfunction is multifactorial and there is no singular blood test, x-ray, or similar mechanistic diagnostic tool, the diagnostic process for ED focuses largely on a Q&A with your clinician. It lends itself well to virtual diagnosis and treatment.

With Rex MD, it works like this:

  • Fill out our medical intake form. By completing this short questionnaire, you provide information about your current symptoms and overall health for your remote clinician. This information is stored in our secure database for one of our licensed medical professionals, who will review and evaluate your symptoms before making a recommendation for treatment. You will provide not only a description of your situation, but also include some background information and a valid form of identification. These are to help verify your identity for legal purposes. 
  • Get evaluated. After your order is place and online intake form complete, a clinician reviews your situation and makes a determination whether you're healthy enough for ED meds like Viagra, usually within a few hours.
  • Talk with a doctor (sometimes). Once you've completed the medical intake form and placed your order, some patients may be required to consult with their clinician by phone or video chat as well. This is based on state law and is generally a quick 5-minute chat.
  • Prescription approved. If prescribed, your medication is shipped to your door in discreet packaging. You can opt for regular refills, and you can select how many doses you'd like to receive. If you need to connect with your clinician afterwards, you can log in to the member portal at any time and use our messaging center to connect with your doc. You can also contact Rex MD's customer support center with non-medical questions or concerns.

How To Tell If You Need Viagra 

Deciding whether or not you need Viagra can be difficult. 

Just because you have experienced erectile dysfunction does not necessarily mean that you should use Viagra. In fact, erectile dysfunction is a fairly common experience that happens to most men at some point in their lives. It only becomes a problem when erection issues go from rare to frequent. It’s also important to note that Viagra does not cure erectile dysfunction, though it treats symptoms well in most men. Treating the root cause of erectile dysfunction, like obesity or diabetes, may provide more lasting results.

There are plenty of possible causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and psychological. The most common causes include:

  • Age
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Injuries to the spine or pelvic area
  • Kidney disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low self esteem or confidence
  • Low testosterone
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Prostate cancer treatments
  • Relationship problems
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Side effect of medication
  • Sleep disorder
  • Stress
  • Tobacco use

The Takeaway

Getting a prescription for Viagra shouldn’t be anything to stress out about. You can get Viagra online more easily – and affordably – than ever with telehealth providers like Rex MD. There are not only plenty of options available, but plenty of ways to get them, if prescribed.

Click here to start your free online consultation with Rex MD.


Erectile dysfunction

The Serendipitous Story of Sildenafil: An Unexpected Oral Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction.

Viagra can be sold over the counter

PDE5 Inhibitor - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf

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Disclaimer : This article is for information only and should not be considered medical advice. Always speak with your doctor about your health and the benefits or risks of any treatment or intervention. This information should not be relied on as a substitute for professional medical advice.