Viagra is a drug which needs little introduction. Since its release in 1998, Viagra has become a household name, and gone on to be used by millions of men around the world.

In the last two decades however, other medications for erectile dysfunction have also become available. Now, men seeking treatment for the first time are faced with several options; and determining which might be the most suitable might not seem so straightforward.

Some men may search for information online, and read reviews from patients who have taken Viagra before. In some cases, these might seem like an informative window into what to expect when using a medicine, and help to allay concerns someone might have about how the drug works.

But when reading Viagra reviews online, there are some considerations you should keep in mind.

Chief among these is that reading Viagra reviews online should never be thought of as an alternative to a detailed discussion with a doctor.

How reliable are online Viagra reviews?

Whether or not online medicine reviews from users are reliable really depends on several factors. The website hosting the review is one.

Some websites may have more thorough processes for monitoring and verifying reviews than others. For instance, these processes may include performing checks, to ensure that one person can’t leave multiple reviews under different names. If there are also staff with a clinical background involved in the checking process, then this can help to filter out reviews which might be unhelpful or misleading.

A website can also facilitate more detailed and accurate reviews by asking the poster to follow a structure when writing their review, or rating their product in different fields. The more detail the poster is asked for, the more helpful or informative their review is likely to be.

Do online reviews give a statistically accurate representation?

It’s a hotly debated subject.

In terms of users going online and leaving reviews unprompted, on an entirely voluntary basis: it could certainly be argued that someone who has had a remarkably good experience when using a product, or a remarkably bad one, is more likely to go online and share this than someone whose experience was modest or went according to their expectations.

This can then create something of a distorted overall picture, with polarising extremes and seemingly no middle ground.

Clinical trials are generally thought to be a more reliable source of information when trying to ascertain a balanced view of a drug’s efficacy. These will be carried out in controlled circumstances and ask all participants to provide a response. In this scenario, the ‘middle ground’ is more likely to be captured in the overall picture.

But while clinical trials provide a more statistically accurate portrayal of a drug, the reporting literature can sometimes be heavy on terminology, and not easy for a layperson to digest. So it’s understandable why some may find user reviews more relatable than clinical literature.

Speaking to your GP

Reading Viagra user reviews can sometimes be a helpful way to gain an insight into how the medicine works; and referring to clinical trials can give us a good idea of how likely it is that the medicine will be effective.

But if you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction and want to know more about treatment, the best person to consult is your doctor. They will be familiar with your medical history and be able to take into account your overall health, before suggesting which course of medicine (if any is required) is suitable.

Page last reviewed:  16/08/2017