Can a Doctor Prescribe You Testosterone Online?

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)

man with muscle

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
  • Tiredness
  • 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.

buying drugs online

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.

References

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.

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low testosterone


Overview of Resources for Free Testosterone (Medications & More)

Free testosterone is the amount of unattached testosterone in your bloodstream. (Learn More) Measures of free testosterone are often used to determine if you suffer from low testosterone levels. (Learn More)

Testosterone replacement therapy medications are controlled substances. (Learn More) There are several different methods by which testosterone replacement therapy can be given. (Learn More)

Oral testosterone supplements are available, but they are not recommended. (Learn More) You can easily find many over-the-counter products that claim to enhance testosterone levels in your body, but they are ineffective. (Learn More)

If you’re interested in testosterone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you. (Learn More)

Free Testosterone

Free testosterone refers to the amount of unattached testosterone in your blood. Much of the testosterone in your blood is attached to two proteins: the sex hormone binding globulin and albumin. The testosterone that is not attached to protein is called free testosterone.

This free testosterone and the testosterone that is bound to albumin are known as the bioavailable testosterone that can be used by your body.

If you are suspected of suffering from low testosterone, your physician can test your total testosterone levels and assess all three different types of testosterone. The level of free testosterone in your system can help to determine whether or not your total testosterone level is low.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Many men who suffer from decreased energy levels, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and problems with depression attribute their issues to low testosterone levels. This is especially true of older males because testosterone levels naturally decline with age.

A low testosterone level by itself does not require treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) does have some potentially serious side effects. Discuss the situation with your physician before attempting to get treatment.

testosterone

Controlled Substances

Medications and supplements that contain actual testosterone are controlled substances in the Schedule III category as defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Testosterone can be abused, particularly by athletes and bodybuilders. There are significant ramifications of abuse, including the potential to develop physical dependence on these substances.

Availability of Testosterone Supplements

Because they are controlled substances, medications that contain testosterone for TRT require a prescription from a physician. There are numerous products on the market that claim to enhance free testosterone production that do not require a prescription, but these do not directly treat low testosterone levels (see below).

TRT treatments include the following:

  • Your physician can inject testosterone directly in your muscles (perhaps the most efficient treatment) or implant pellets in the soft tissues of your body that slowly release testosterone into your system. This can treat low testosterone levels.
  • There is a transdermal patch that can release testosterone into your body to treat low testosterone (brand name: Androderm). The patches are applied to the skin once a day.
  • There are gels, such as AndroGel or Testim, that can be applied to your body, so testosterone is absorbed through your skin. There are supplements like AndroGel and Fortesta that come in a pump and deliver testosterone. There is also a testosterone gel that is applied inside the nose.
  • Striant is a tablet that sticks to your upper gum on either side of your mouth and releases testosterone into your blood through this manner. It is applied twice a day.

Oral Testosterone Supplements

Oral testosterone supplements do exist, but research evidence suggests that using testosterone orally can damage your liver.

The above-mentioned medications deliver the testosterone directly in your bloodstream, so they bypass your liver. The use of oral testosterone supplements is not recommended.

person swallowing pill

Over-The-Counter Products to Enhance Testosterone Levels

There are many over-the-counter products — sold in health food stores, online, and through other venues — that claim to increase free testosterone levels. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest any of these products work.

  • D-aspartic acid may increase testosterone levels in some animals, but research indicates that its ability to do this in humans is questionable at best. More research is needed.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally occurring hormone that is often marketed as a testosterone replacement supplement. However, research indicates that there is little evidence it can do this.
  • Herbal supplements are often touted as capable of increasing testosterone levels. Some of these may have DHEA added to them. Again, there is little evidence for their effectiveness, and the manufacture of these products is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Do You Need TRT?

There are potential risks to TRT that can include cardiovascular issues, prostate issues, and the development of sleep apnea. It is important that you discuss your concerns with your physician.

Your physician will be able to ascertain if your symptoms are due to low free testosterone levels and what method of TRT is most suitable for you. The current recommendation is that TRT should not be used to reverse the effects of normal aging.

Over-the-counter testosterone enhancement supplements are not effective. If purchase these, research indicates that you are wasting your money.

References

Testing Your Testosterone: It’s Tricky. (October 2012). Harvard Health Publishing.

Drug Scheduling. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Right for You? (May 2017). WebMD.

The Putative Effects of D-Aspartic Acid on Blood Testosterone Levels: A Systematic Review. (January 2017). International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine.

Dietary Adjuncts for Improving Testosterone Levels in Hypogonadal Males. (August 2015). American Journal of Men’s Health.

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