Testosterone is an important hormone that is present in both women and men. Per Mayo Clinic, men often become concerned with how a declining output of this hormone can affect them as they age. (Learn More)
Testosterone should only be prescribed for legitimate medical conditions, not for the natural decline in testosterone that comes with aging. (Learn More)
While getting a prescription for testosterone generally involves a doctor’s visit, it is possible to get a testosterone prescription online in some states. You can also fill your testosterone prescription from a valid online pharmacy. (Learn More)
When Is a Testosterone Prescription Needed?
We mostly think of testosterone as a sex hormone that affords men many of their traditionally masculine qualities. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the hormone also plays a role in:
- Muscle strength and mass.
- Sex drive.
- Sperm and blood cell production.
- Distribution of fat.
Men produce less testosterone with age. This is normal and does not necessarily mean testosterone therapy is needed. Harvard Medical School explains that many men are easily swayed by advertisements for treatments that discuss warning signs of low testosterone (low T) levels.
Testosterone therapy is not meant to be taken lightly. Doctors usually prescribe testosterone therapy to men who suffer from hypogonadism. Men with this condition do not produce enough testosterone. It is possible to be born with hypogonadism or to acquire the condition later because of an illness or infection.
The following are symptoms of hypogonadism:
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Difficulty focusing
Symptoms of hypogonadism are different depending on when the condition developed. Testosterone therapy is the best treatment for men with this condition.
Men who are older may also face similar symptoms, but they do not generally need testosterone therapy for this natural decline in testosterone.
Does the Law Prohibit Patients From Buying Testosterone Online?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains that it is lawful to buy medications, including prescription testosterone, online if:
- You have a valid prescription for the medication from a licensed physician.
- You buy your medication from an online pharmacy that complies with the law.
Legitimate online pharmacies exist, but they are required to obtain a license and operate legally. These are signs of a compliant online pharmacy:
- They specify that you must provide a prescription from your doctor before you can purchase anything.
- They have a U.S.-based address.
- They have a licensed pharmacist on staff and available to answer your questions.
What About Telemedicine?
There are countless illegitimate online “pharmacies” that are actually scams, set up to defraud people. You may have run into websites that claim to have their own doctors who can write a prescription online for whatever you need. Many say you only need to fill out a quick questionnaire to get a valid prescription. These are not legitimate prescriptions.
In some states, you can get a valid prescription via a telehealth or telemedicine appointment. But this generally involves a video or phone appointment with a licensed physician. It involves a full consultation with the doctor via phone, text, video, or other form of communication that is not an in-person visit.
The laws on prescribing medication after a telehealth appointment vary by state. For example, the Arkansas State Legislature had a debate regarding what telehealth should be. The state wanted to adopt friendlier policies because many of its residents live in rural areas, which makes access to quality medical care difficult. State law mandates that anyone practicing telemedicine must have a medical license.
The American Psychological Association reports that psychologists who want to offer telemedicine services to their patients must have a license to practice in that state.
While it is possible to get a prescription for testosterone after a telemedicine appointment, many physicians will want to see you in person first. Refills are more likely to be given via a telemedicine visit.
Never buy testosterone from an online pharmacy that doesn’t require a prescription. You may get another substance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is testosterone, and why is it prescribed?
Testosterone is an important hormone in men and women. Men who suffer from hypogonadism may receive a prescription for testosterone therapy if their bodies do not naturally make enough testosterone.
Is it possible to buy testosterone online?
Patients can buy testosterone online at a licensed pharmacy if they have a prescription from their doctor.
Some states require that doctors must see patients in person in order to prescribe anything for them. Other states allow prescriptions after telemedicine appointments.
How do I know I am buying testosterone from a legitimate source?
Online pharmacies that work lawfully will always ask to see your prescription before selling you any medication. The website should feature a physical address in the United States.
Legitimate online pharmacies also have qualified licensed pharmacists on staff who can answer your questions.
Illegitimate online pharmacies may offer to provide you with a prescription online after you fill out a short questionnaire. These are not real prescriptions.
These scam pharmacies will not provide a physical address, or they may feature one that is outside the U.S. They often sell medications at very low prices because they are not selling legitimate versions of the drug.
Testosterone Therapy: Potential Benefits and Risks as You Age. (December 2017). Mayo Clinic.
Is Testosterone Therapy Safe? Take a Breath Before You Take the Plunge. (February 2014). Harvard Health Publishing.
Consumer Alert: Report Suspected Unlawful Sales of Pharmaceutical Drugs on the Internet. U.S. Department of Justice — DEA Diversion Control.
How to Buy Medicines Safely From an Online Pharmacy. (January 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Read This Before You Use an Online Pharmacy. (December 2015). NerdWallet.
Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men. (September 2013). National Institutes of Health.
Options for Increasing Your Testosterone. (September 2018). Healthline.
Male Hypogonadism. (September 2016). Mayo Clinic.
A New Emphasis on Telehealth. (June 2011). American Psychological Association.
Arkansas Legislators: Telehealth Still Needs More Than a Telephone. (February 2019). mHealth Intelligence.
Arkansas Telemedicine Law: Arkansas 887. (April 2015). Arkansas E-Link.