Getting Sildenafil on prescription through the NHS

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Medically reviewed by

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Last reviewed: 10 Mar 2019

Is it the best option?

Man looking up Sildenafil on the NHS

Key takeaways

  • You can get NHS and private prescriptions for Sildenafil through NHS doctors

  • You can also get private prescriptions for Viagra, which contains Sildenafil

  • The NHS commonly prescribe Sildenafil because it's cheaper and safe

  • There are advantages to buying Sildenafil online rather than using the NHS

  • Sildenafil is now available in an over-the-counter form

You can get Sildenafil treatment through the NHS, but it may not be the best option for everyone.

If you choose to get Sildenafil elsewhere you could get a service that suits you better while still paying a competitive price...

How do you get Sildenafil on the NHS?

You can buy Sildenafil with a prescription on the NHS – to get Sildenafil on the NHS, you first have to book an appointment with your GP. In the appointment, you will discuss your ED symptoms and lifestyle choices. They will suggest a safe and effective treatment option.

Getting an NHS prescription – if your GP agrees that Sildenafil is the best option, they will give you a prescription for the correct dosage. You can use this prescription to buy your medication at most local UK pharmacies, for the usual NHS prescription fee.

Getting a private prescription – Sildenafil is also available to buy on private prescription. This means that it’s possible to get a private prescription for Sildenafil from either your GP, or from a doctor through a service like ZAVA. Buying Sildenafil privately works in much the same way, can be easier and provide you with more treatment options.

What is Sildenafil? – Sildenafil is the generic (unbranded) name for the medication popularly known as Viagra. It is used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the difficulty in gaining or maintaining an erection.

Can you buy Sildenafil in other forms on the NHS?

Yes, you can get Sildenafil in other forms on the NHS – Sildenafil is the generic (unbranded) version of the medication known as Viagra. They contain the exact same active ingredient (sildenafil citrate) and are available in the same dosages.

Prescription restrictions for different sildenafil medications vary – the most important thing to know about buying medical ED treatment on the NHS is that only certain people qualify for certain forms on a standard NHS prescription. Sildenafil is one of the drugs available for the standard prescription fee, whereas medications like Viagra and Cialis are much harder to get on the NHS. Most people will have to go privately to buy branded versions of drugs like Sildenafil.

The NHS won’t be offering prescriptions for Viagra Connect – because this medication will not be sold by prescription, it won’t be offered on the NHS in the same way. It still has the same assessment criteria as other medication containing sildenafil.

Why does the NHS usually recommend Sildenafil?

Sildenafil is the go-to treatment for ED at the NHS for a few reasons:

  • It tends to be cheaper
  • It’s safe to use (when used properly after getting an assessment)
  • It works well for the majority of people who try it

The price is the main advantage – the biggest advantage of Sildenafil over other medical forms of ED treatment is that it’s the cheapest option to produce and for the NHS to sell, making it cheaper overall for you to buy. Sildenafil contains the same active ingredients and works in the same way as better-known treatments like Viagra, and there is no difference when it comes to things like side effects.

The NHS only recommends the most cost-efficient treatment – the NHS doesn’t offer branded treatments like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Spedra as easily as Sildenafil. This is because of price. The only way to get the best variety of medical options for the treatment of ED is by going privately. Online services like ZAVA offer the full range of treatments available in the UK at competitive prices.

How does getting Sildenafil on the NHS compare to buying elsewhere?

The medication will be the same – there are no differences in the actual treatment of medication like Sildenafil, whether you buy it on the NHS or elsewhere. Licensed versions of Sildenafil will always contain the same active ingredients (sildenafil citrate), which acts on your body in the same way.

The service you receive can be different – getting Sildenafil on the NHS or buying it privately is different in other important ways. Other than getting it on the NHS, you might get Sildenafil with a private prescription from your GP, specialist or by using an online service doctor service.

The main advantages to buying Sildenafil online are:

  • No face-to-face appointment needed – you don’t always have to have a face-to-face appointment with a GP to get the prescription (if you do it online or over-the-phone), which many users prefer
  • It can be easier – to have your medication delivered or ready to collect, all you need to do is fill out a form online for a doctor to assess
  • It’s often quicker – you avoid NHS waiting times by ordering it privately or online, and there are several options for quick and affordable postage
  • You can buy different quantities – when you get Sildenafil through an online doctor service like ZAVA you can order in bulk, to save money and time in the long run

The NHS can offer face-to-face discussions – if you’re unsure about Sildenafil treatment, going into your local GP surgery to discuss things face-to-face with your nurse or doctor may be the better option.

They will be able to provide you with individual advice and tips on managing your ED, as well as talking you through possible causes or contributing factors and anything you could be worried about. However, it’s important to remember that you can always order Sildenafil on the NHS first, and then order subsequent treatment online, once you’re sure about it.

How is buying Sildenafil changing?

Getting medication containing Sildenafil – most recently, Viagra Connect was released as the first ever over-the-counter ED treatment in the UK. It contains the same active ingredient as Sildenafil and Viagra (sildenafil citrate 50mg) and has been available from March 2018

The Department of Health decided to release Viagra Connect as an over-the-counter medication to make Sildenafil more widely accessible, to encourage men to seek safe treatment for their ED, and say that the decision is “good news for men’s health”.

It’s possible that the way Sildenafil is offered will change – scientists in the UK and abroad are always looking for better and new ways to treat ED. It may be that access to Sildenafil improves or that better treatments come along to replace sildenafil.

Medically reviewed by:
Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos Accreditations: MBBS, BSc

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos graduated from the University of London in 2006. He did his postgraduate training in hospitals in the London area, and he trained for four years in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery before completing his training in General practice in 2015.

Meet our doctors

Last reviewed: 10 Mar 2019

Get £5 off your next order when you sign up to our newsletter.
Sign up today

Authorised and regulated by