The internet became a widely used household utility around the same time Viagra was launched, in the late 1990s. It followed then that news of this new, revolutionary treatment for an age old problem travelled fast, helping Viagra to become a brand everyone now recognises. 

Unfortunately, one by-product of success is often (unlawful) imitation. In the years since the drug was licensed and made available, millions of pounds worth of counterfeit versions of Viagra have been seized. Even today, illicit sellers are still around, attempting to part people seeking safe and effective treatment for an intimate condition with their money. This is partly why the GPhC and MHRA have developed their own marks of authenticity for online pharmacies to display on their sites, so that users can be sure they’re accessing a legitimate service.

Kamagra is a drug that has unfortunately become synonymous with counterfeit drugs. In India, Kamagra is a licensed generic version of Viagra, that performs the same function in treating ED. 

Kamagra isn’t available legally in the UK or EU at present, so even if the version you’ve managed to source for sale online, or in a social setting such as a pub, is the real thing, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t obtain or use it.

Another reason you should avoid it is due to the fact that it’s an oft-falsified drug, and because there are no licensing guidelines around it in the UK, it’s impossible to know if what you’re getting is safe or has been properly tested.

On this page, we’ll discuss the drug in more detail, and what the safe alternatives are.

What is Kamagra and what is it for? 

If you suffer with erectile dysfunction, or you currently take treatment for it, you may have heard of Kamagra. Kamagra is a treatment for ED licensed in India, often sold as a cheaper alternative to other mainstream treatments such as Viagra or Cialis. 

However, you should also be aware that it is illegal to purchase Kamagra in the UK, or anywhere in the EU. This is because it is an unlicensed, unapproved ED treatment. If you’re able to place an order online for Kamagra, you’ll be doing so from a pharmacy which does not operate legally. 

The drug is often manufactured in India, and may initially seem like an affordable alternative. However, if you are able to acquire the drug in the UK it is impossible to know how safe or effective it will be. This is because it is impossible to be sure what the ingredients are. 

Buying Kamagra online is almost as unsafe as acquiring street drugs, again because there’s no way of knowing what’s really in it.

How does Kamagra work? 

The real, genuine version of Kamagra contains sildenafil citrate, which is actually the same active ingredient found in Viagra and Viagra Connect. Theoretically then, Kamagra should work in the same way as Viagra.

Sildenafil works by relaxing the blood vessels. This allows for increased blood flow. However, the drug cannot be solely relied on to solve impotence. The feeling of sexual arousal must be present for sildenafil to be effective. 

Sildenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction, though it can also be used to treat other health conditions including pulmonary arterial hypertension (which is high blood pressure in the lungs). 

However, even genuine Kamagra is still not licensed in the UK and EU. It’s sold in India without a prescription, so for illicit sellers it’s generally much easier to obtain than prescription-only treatments like Viagra. The reason most ED drugs available in the UK (with the exception of Viagra Connect which is a pharmacy drug) require a prescription is so that a qualified person can make sure the drug is suitable and safe for you before you take it.

Another thing to be aware of is that Kamagra isn’t always available in the same dosage amounts as Viagra. The highest doses of Sildenafil and Viagra available in the UK are 100mg tablets for a reason; and that’s because most men find the 50mg works well enough, and 100mg is only for use in cases there 50mg isn’t effective. Doses of Kamagra may exceed 100mg, which raises issues around safe dosing.

Kamagra risks and side effects

Both Kamagra and Viagra contain the same active ingredient, sildenafil, so should have a similar contraindication and side effect profile. But because Kamagra can be bought in higher doses, there may be some differences. 

Common side effects associated with sildenafil include nausea, facial flushes, hot flushes, indigestion, impaired or blurred vision, visual disturbances, stuffy or blocked sinuses and/or dizziness. 

You can find more detailed information on side effects in the patient information leaflet.

Counterfeit versions of the drugs may cause drastically different side effects or pose a dangerous health risk (which is primarily why they should be avoided).

Fake and illegal forms

There are a number of ED treatments available online. But unfortunately even well-established, branded treatments are subject to falsification. 

Reports of fake Viagra being seized have been common over the last 15-20 years. As ED treatments become more popular, other drugs have also been the target of counterfeiters too. Fake Cialis is one example.

There are usually a few giveaway signs that treatment isn’t genuine. One is if you’re offered it on a ‘no prescription required’ basis. The only treatments for ED that don’t require a prescription are Viagra Connect and some versions of Sildenafil 50mg. Even in these cases, you’ll need to have a health screening with a pharmacist to make sure they’re right for you, so it’s best to avoid any service that doesn’t ask questions or perform medical checks of any kind.

ED treatments are only available in certain doses. If you see ‘double-strength’ Viagra or ‘Super-strength’ Cialis, these treatments don’t exist, so there’s a good chance it’s a fake seller.

You can’t get Viagra as a jelly, chewing gum or gel. It’s only available as a tablet. Avoid any seller offering alternative forms.

How to identify an authorised pharmacy

If you are looking to buy ED treatment online, you must be careful about where you choose to order it from. You could land quite easily on a site that is selling illegal treatment for erectile dysfunction by doing a generic search. 

There are some things you can look out for to know whether an online pharmacy is operating legally or not. 

Firstly, look for the following green and white logos, or ‘stamps’. These are indicative of a legally operating online pharmacy. Clicking on them should show you credentials of the pharmacy and links to their entries on regulatory bodies.

The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) logo is something else you can look for. If a site displays their logo, which looks like the following, along with a link to their entry on the CQC register of providers, then it is regularly inspected by them. The CQC also give scores based on safety, effectiveness, care, responsivity and leadership.

Page last reviewed:  24/07/2020