Sildenafil to be available over the counter

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) will be able to buy sildenafil over the counter from 2018 with the forthcoming launch of Viagra Connect.

Viagra Connect will be sold from pharmacies following a discussion with the pharmacist. | iStock

Viagra Connect 50mg tablets could be available to purchase from pharmacies from spring 2018, according to the manufacturer, Pfizer. 

Viagra 25mg, 50mg and 100mg tablets will remain available as a prescription medicine.

In order to purchase Viagra Connect, men aged 18 years and over will need to answer questions from the pharmacist about their symptoms, their general health, and any other medications they are taking, so that the pharmacist can determine whether the product is suitable for them.

Pharmacists should advise men to follow up with their doctor at their earliest convenience within 6 months of first being supplied the product, so that any potential underlying conditions or risk factors associated with erectile dysfunction can be investigated. In cases where pharmacists believe the product is unsuitable for clinical reasons, they should advise men to see their doctor for further assistance.

Counterfeit risk

'A new initiative that enables men to go to a pharmacy to get help for their ED is welcome,' said Dr David Edwards, GP with a special interest in sexual dysfunction and past President of the British Society of Sexual Medicine.

'The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has pointed out that pharmacists are ideally placed to handle conversations with men about the condition. Almost all pharmacies already have a consulting room that is private making it an ‘okay place’ for men to attend. Anything that will deter men from buying ‘dodgy’, often counterfeit drugs without any contact with a healthcare professional, is to be applauded.'

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