Dangers of Buying Clomid Without a Prescription

How the FDA Is Taking Measures to Halt the Practice

Woman sitting at computer in darkened room buying Clomid online
Sam Diephuis / Getty Images

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. to which not only patients but doctors fall prey.

Why people would consider this an option is still unclear given that the drug costs only between $10 and $100 a cycle. But, based on a casual review of online chat rooms, it is clearly a practice that some people not only embrace but encourage others to do.

Our advice? Don't.

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 very 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 a practice in the U.S. than many realize.

On November 6, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the scale of the problem when its issued a letter to doctors warning against the practice of buying drugs from foreign or prescription-free websites.

In their statement, the FDA officials highlighted the most common problems faced when dealing the growing crisis, namely that:

  • 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.

In 2016, the FDA sent more than 1,300 letters to medical practices in the U.S. which had purchased unapproved medications from TC Medical, an unlicensed supplier of counterfeit Botox. In response to the allegations, TC Medical pleaded guilty to orchestrating a multi-year conspiracy to smuggle misbranded prescription products into the U.S.

This is only one of several cases criminally prosecuted by the FDA in recent years.

Furthermore, 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 a severe medical event, 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 at the Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Connecticut made off with $100 million in commonly prescribed drugs, including antipsychotics and cancer medications.

Just a year earlier, a similar burglary made off with $13 million in pharmaceutical drugs from GlaxoSmithKline, including $5 million worth of the asthma drug Advair.

While this suggests that many of the illegal websites at least have "real" drugs, think again. Improper storage or excessive temperatures can end up tainting medications, while expired drugs may not only be less effective but can end up being harmful.

For its part, Clomid has a shelf life of three years and needs to be stored at temperatures over 59oF and under 86oF. 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 when the expiration label is either smudged, scraped off, 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 pretty much 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 cyst formation
  • 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 simply choose not to have your condition monitored, it is unwise to think you have the skills to manage these and other possible complications.

You May Get Your Credit Card Information Stolen

The facts are simple: in 2017 alone, $16 billion dollars were 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. It's simply common sense.

A Word From Verywell

If price is the reason you are buying Clomid without a prescription, there are manufacturer discounts you can readily find online and take to your neighborhood pharmacy, saving you 50 percent or more.

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

Whatever you do, do not consider a disreputable website as a "last resort." It is a resort you should avoid entirely. 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.

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Article Sources
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  2. Seli E, Arici A, Barbieri R. Ovulation induction with clomiphene citrate. UpToDate. Retrieved February. 2016;1:2017.

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