Dangers of Buying Clomid Without a Prescription

Woman sitting at computer in darkened room buying Clomid online
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If you’re considering buying Clomid (clomiphene) online—without seeing a doctor and without a prescription—think again. It is, in fact, a growing problem in the U.S., and not only patients fall prey. Doctors do too.

Why people would consider this a helpful option is unclear, given that the drug costs only $10 to $100 per cycle. But it is clearly a practice that some people not only embrace, but also encourage. And that's a problem.

Sure, you may be lucky and score the real drug, but how do you know for sure? With a drug like Clomid, which is meant to promote ovulation, not getting pregnant may be related to any number of factors. So, while you may think that you are the source of your infertility, it may, in fact, be the drug.

Worse yet, buying any drug from a less-than-reputable source may end up hurting more than just your pocketbook. It could end up damaging your health. Here are four reasons why you should never, ever purchase Clomid with a prescription.

You May Get Counterfeit Medications

While the thought that someone would take the time create a fake version of an otherwise inexpensive drug may seem outlandish, it has become far more common than many realize. In late 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter to doctors warning against the practice of buying drugs from foreign or prescription-free websites.

In the statement, FDA officials highlighted the most common problems with counterfeit drugs:

  • The drugs may be fake, contaminated, ineffective, or unsafe.
  • The drugs may not have been evaluated for safety and efficacy.
  • The drugs may contain the wrong amount of active ingredients.
  • The drugs may contain harmful ingredients.

Since 2010, the FDA has received over 1,400 complaints of adverse effects from drugs purchased from a disreputable online source. Given that the reports were issued in response to severe medical events, it can only be assumed that the figure is a drop in the bucket in terms of the actual scale of the problem.

You May Get Expired Drugs

In the same way that certain drugs are faked, others are regularly stolen and resold to consumers at a hefty profit. In 2010, a drug heist hit the Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Connecticut. Thieves made off with $100 million in commonly prescribed drugs, including antipsychotics and cancer medications.

Just a year earlier, $13 million in pharmaceutical drugs from GlaxoSmithKline, were stolen, including $5 million worth of the asthma drug Advair. While this suggests that illegal websites are selling genuine drugs, that doesn't mean they are safe. Improper storage or excessive temperatures can taint these medications. Expired drugs may not only be less effective, but can be harmful.

Clomid has a shelf life of three years and needs to be stored at temperatures over 59 degrees Fahrenheit and under 86 degrees F. While it is not a particularly fragile drug, any excesses in temperature can undermine the drug's usefulness.

Expired drugs of any sort, meanwhile, should be avoided. If you receive a questionable drug, the first indication of a problem is an expiration label that is smudged, partially removed, or missing. Do not take it.

You May Have an Adverse Reaction

If you are buying Clomid from a disreputable source because you are having problems getting pregnant and do not want to see a doctor, you are asking for trouble. Self-medication is never a smart idea, and, with Clomid, you risk any number of significant side effects, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Abdominal pain, sometimes serious
  • Visual disturbances
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Thinning of the uterine endometrial lining
  • Reduced production of cervical mucus (which can reduce the odds of pregnancy)

Even if you have been diagnosed and choose not to have your condition monitored by a physician, you likely do not have the skills to manage side effects and other possible complications.

Your Credit Card May Be Compromised

The facts are simple: In 2017 alone, $16 billion was stolen from American consumers through Internet-related fraud. Among the chief concerns was an increase in the incidence of card-not-present (CNP) fraud. Ultimately, the chance of this happening with a website that illegally sells prescription medication will be higher than buying it from a legal source.

A Word From Verywell

If price is the reason you are buying Clomid without a prescription, look online for manufacturer discounts you can take to your neighborhood pharmacy. These can help save you 50% or more. If you have been a victim of a counterfeit drug sale, you can file an anonymous report online with the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation.

If you are seeking Clomid illegally because your doctor thinks you should avoid it, take the time to listen to their concerns. As much as you may want to get pregnant, there may be health risks that exclude Clomid as a viable option for you. If you are in doubt, seek a second opinion from a qualified fertility specialist.

8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. AARP Health Bulletin, Counterfeit drugs are flooding the nation's pharmacies and hospitals.

  2. Use of clomiphene citrate in infertile women: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2013;100(2):341-8. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.05.033

  3. Blackstone EA, Fuhr Jr JP, Pociask S. The health and economic effects of counterfeit drugs. Am Health Drug Benefits. 2014;7(4):216-24.

  4. Mackey TK, Liang BA. The global counterfeit drug trade: patient safety and public health risks. J Pharm Sci. 2011;100(11):4571-9. doi:10.1002/jps.22679

  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA issues letters to doctors who may have purchased counterfeit or unapproved prescription drugs.

  6. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Two Florida men admit participating in multi-million drug theft from Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield.

  7. Sanofi-Aventis. Clomid Drug Information Sheet.

  8. Javelin Strategy and Research. 2017 Identity Fraud: Securing the Connected Life.

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.