Getting Viagra on the NHS.
Why is an NHS prescription for Viagra restricted?
Erectile dysfunction is a health condition like any other – so getting treatment on the NHS should be standard, right? The reality is getting Viagra on the NHS is not so straightforward. 
Find out if you are eligible, and what to do if you’re not.
How does Viagra on the NHS work?
There are two kinds of prescription you can get for Viagra on the NHS:
An NHS prescription for Viagra  – this is what people normally think of when they think Viagra on the NHS and it’s the same as a prescription you would get for most other medications. A private prescription from an NHS doctor – this is like buying Viagra privately anywhere else and doesn’t change if it’s coming from an NHS doctor or another healthcare service.
You only pay the standard prescription fee of £8.60 (cheaper than buying elsewhere)  Only people with certain health conditions will be given an NHS prescription  You can only have 4 pills per month (1 pill last 1 day so that’s 4 days worth out of a whole month)  You can use a prescription prepayment card (PPC) with an NHS prescription for Viagra.
You pay the normal price of Viagra (around £20)  You’ll be eligible as long as you have erection problems and your doctor agrees it’s safe for you to take Viagra  You can get more than 4 a month (but remember, they should only be taken once a day)  Your PPC card won’t cover any of the cost.
Can I get Viagra on the NHS?
You can only get an NHS prescription for Viagra if you have one of a specific set of health conditions outlined in NHS prescribing guidelines.
Due to legislation from the UK government, the NHS has to restrict who it can give NHS prescriptions for Viagra to. Although Viagra can improve erectile dysfunction in a lot of men, regardless of any other health conditions, the NHS will only give an NHS prescription for Viagra to men:
The only other reason the NHS would give someone an NHS prescription for Viagra is if their erectile dysfunction is causing them serious distress. The factors used to tell whether you are severely distressed by your erectile dysfunction are if it causes:
“ Significant disruption to normal social and occupational activity ” – your thoughts and feelings about your erectile dysfunction are affecting your work or social life.
“ Marked effect on mood, behaviour, social and environmental awareness ” – your thoughts and feelings about your erectile dysfunction are changing the way you feel, behave, and see the world in very a negative way “ Marked effect on interpersonal relationships ” – your thought and feeling about your erectile dysfunction are damaging your personal relationships.
Although branded Viagra is not available for NHS prescriptions for the majority of patients, the unbranded generic version, Sildenafil, does not have the same prescribing restrictions.
Your GP can’t assess you for this themselves, they will have to refer you to a specialist who can give you an assessment for erectile dysfunction-related distress. If you think this applies to you, you can talk to your GP about getting a referral.
How do I get a private prescription for Viagra?
The easiest way to get Viagra without an NHS prescription is to use an online doctor service. You can also use services like this for other medications like Viagra:
You can get assessed online, without seeing a doctor in person You can pick your preferred medication and a doctor will check if it’s safe for you If your online doctor agrees, your medication will be posted to your door.
Not everyone can get a private prescription for Viagra either. This is because Viagra isn’t safe for everyone. Your doctor may not prescribe you Viagra privately if:
You can also get a private prescription for Viagra from your GP, or a private healthcare service. Any doctor licensed in the UK can prescribe Viagra privately – they don’t have to work in ‘private healthcare’.
Can I get other erectile dysfunction medications on the NHS?
Like Viagra, other PDE-5 inhibitors licensed for treating erectile dysfunction in the UK can only be bought with a private prescription . They include:
These Viagra alternatives all work slightly differently and some work better than others for different people.
The generic version of Viagra, Sildenafil, can be prescribed with an NHS prescription for anyone who meets the normal criteria for erectile dysfunction treatment. It can also be ordered online with a free online assessment and to-your-door delivery from an online doctor service.
3 other types of erectile dysfunction medication available with an NHS prescription are:
Moxisylyte hydrochloride  – this a chemical called an alpha blocker that is normally prescribed for Raynaud’s syndrome. It increases blood flow, which is important for erections Apomorphine hydrochloride  – this is a chemical called a dopamine agonist which improves the signals to get an erection coming from your brain Thymoxamine hydrochloride  – this is called an alpha-adrenergic blocker and improve erections by relaxing penile muscles, helping blood flow.
Please note  – these medications are only for very specific cases, usually prescribed by a specialist and/or in a hospital setting. Your GP will not likely be able to prescribe any of these for your erectile dysfunction.
What else does the NHS offer for erectile dysfunction?
The NHS offers some other erectile dysfunction treatments that don’t involve erectile dysfunction medication. They can also check your current health conditions and medications which could be causing your erectile dysfunction.
The other erectile dysfunction treatments the NHS offers include:
Counselling or therapy for erectile dysfunction caused by emotional or psychological problems (and also counselling for emotional and psychological problems caused by your erectile dysfunction) Lifestyle advice which can help improve your erectile dysfunction such as: Losing weight Giving up smoking Cutting back on your alcohol consumption  Avoiding taking illegal drugs  Exercising on a regular basis Reducing stress.
The NHS can also check you for some of the health conditions that might be causing your erectile dysfunction, and provide you with treatments. You can also get treatment for some of these conditions using an online doctor service. Conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
Some medications, like antidepressant for example, can also cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. If you think your medication(s) are causing your erectile dysfunction, have your doctor check for you and they might be able to prescribe you something else.
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