HomeEditorialPrescriptionsCan an Online Doctor Write a Xanax Prescription?

Can an Online Doctor Write a Xanax Prescription?

Before the internet, you always had to buy prescription medications at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy. Today, you may be able to buy certain medications, even those requiring a prescription, over the internet. (Learn More) You must comply with certain requirements to buy Xanax online, and these vary by state. There is a proliferation of illegitimate online “pharmacies.” These operations claim to have a doctor on staff who can write you an immediate prescription for Xanax or other meds. These sites are not legitimate. No doctor will write you a prescription without first examining you. You can see a licensed doctor via a telemedicine appointment. This occurs when a doctor consults with you via phone, text, video, or an app. (Learn More) Once you have a valid prescription for Xanax from a licensed physician, you can choose to fill your prescription at an online pharmacy. Confirm you are purchasing from a legitimate pharmacy. Again, there are many scam pharmacies online that aren’t operating lawfully, and purchasing from these sites is risky. (Learn More)

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a widely known medication, which is primarily used to treat people with anxiety disorders. People who use it must obtain a prescription from a doctor. Using Xanax without a prescription is illegal because it is a scheduled drug. It belongs to the benzodiazepine group of drugs, also known as tranquilizers. Xanax works by calming you if you feel anxiety coming on. You do not need to experience anxiety in order to feel Xanax’s effects, which is why misusing this medication can be so appealing. The drug has a high potential for abuse. Many regulations are in place in an effort to curb this abuse.

shutterstock 1264838881-300x200

What Is an Online Doctor?

Telehealth is a new branch of medicine that is meant to help patients access doctors more easily. If you are sick and can’t leave the house, you may be able to talk to your doctor via text, phone, video, or an app. There are two common ways to access to an online doctor:

  • Through a private service

  • Through your insurance provider, if they offer e-visits as part of coverage

Talking to a doctor online can help you get prompt care, and in some instances, you can get a prescription after a telemedicine appointment. Telemedicine visits can’t substitute for in-person visits in many instances, however. Various conditions require a more thorough examination, so an in-person visit is needed.

Online Doctors and Legal Issues

States have different laws regulating what online doctors can do.

  • The state of Massachusetts currently allows telehealth coverage for patients on Medicaid. Patients can use this service for mental health issues.State law still mandates an initial in-person visit for patients who need a prescription, as well as follow-up visits every three months for patients who need to use a medication on a long-term basis. In some instances, a telemedicine appointment can be substituted for this in-person visit, but the physician must have an existing relationship with the patient before issuing an online prescription.

  • The Medical Board of California mentions that telehealth is allowed as long as it is only used to diagnose, educate, treat, transfer medical data, or consult with a patient. In some cases, medications can be prescribed after a telemedicine appointment.

  • On the federal side, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that in most states, you need to physically visit a doctor to get a Xanax prescription. Per the DEA, a prescription from an online doctor is not valid for a medication like Xanax.Buying Xanax online without a prescription is illegal. You may be subject to penalties that vary according to state.

In short, you can buy Xanax online from a licensed pharmacy if you obtain the proper prescription from a physician.

Spotting a Fake Pharmacy

Despite the many laws and regulations governing the use and prescription of Xanax, unethical or unlawful pharmacies may claim to offer online doctors who can provide you with an immediate prescription for Xanax. Rogue online pharmacies take advantage of vulnerable customers every day. Per Poison Control, these tips can help you spot an illegitimate online pharmacy:

  • They claim to have an “in-house” doctor who can give you a prescription for your medication immediately. Instead of requesting a copy of a prescription from a doctor, they ask you to fill out a few questions and give you a prescription they say allows you to buy Xanax legally.

  • Their prices seem abnormally low. While you can save some money by buying Xanax from licensed online pharmacies, prices won’t be that dramatically different than those found in a traditional pharmacy. If prices seem too good to be true, they likely are.

  • They don’t feature a physical address. Valid online pharmacies should list a physical address that is in the U.S. If the address listed is overseas, it’s likely to be an invalid operation.

  • They don’t have a licensed pharmacist on staff.

Take the time to confirm you are buying from a valid pharmacy. Confirm the pharmacy is valid by checking your state’s Board of Pharmacy.

shutterstock 1198665823-300x200

Risks of Buying From a Rogue Pharmacy

The prices at fake online pharmacies are often incredibly low, and this can tempt customers to purchase from these illegitimate operations regardless. These purchases come with many risks.

  • The Xanax you get could be counterfeit. This means it could be largely ineffective, or it could be dosed incorrectly.

  • You could get a medication that is not safe. Even if you get Xanax, it could be expired or mixed with dangerous ingredients. Scam pharmacies may mix Xanax with other dangerous substances to try to stretch their product and make more money.

  • They could steal your personal information. Rogue online pharmacies do not secure your personal data. You could have your identity or credit card information stolen.

Even if the prices seem very low, it’s just not worth the risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I legally buy Xanax online?

You can buy Xanax online as long as you have a valid prescription from a physician and buy it from a licensed online pharmacy.

What is an online doctor?

Online doctors practice via telemedicine. These are traditional doctors who offer telemedicine services, communicating with patients via the web, apps, or video. They are licensed doctors who are practicing telehealth, so they are qualified to see patients in person as well.

Can an online doctor give me a prescription for Xanax?

In some states, online doctors are only allowed to assist patients with mental health issues. In other states, online doctors can educate patients, treat, or transfer medical data to them. In many states, online doctors cannot provide a prescription for scheduled medication like Xanax. Some states do allow physicians to write prescriptions as part of a telemedicine appointment, but there are strict regulations in place. These laws vary by state.

What are the risks of purchasing Xanax from an unlicensed pharmacy?

If you buy Xanax from an unlicensed pharmacy, you are at risk of health and legal consequences. The Xanax sold by illegitimate sites is not checked for quality. You could receive a product that is expired, counterfeit, or mixed with something else. In the worst cases, the fake Xanax could be cut with a dangerous or even deadly substance. Many unlicensed pharmacies are not located in the United States. U.S. laws that govern the manufacturing and distribution of prescription medications do not apply to these operations, and this puts your safety at risk.


State Boards of Pharmacy Take Action to Stop Licensees Involved in Unlawful Internet Drug Outlet Schemes. (December 2010). National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Online Pharmacies: Avoid the Frauds. Poison Control.

Regulation of Internet Pharmacies: A Continuing Challenge  (September 2015). Hospital Pharmacy.

Frequently Asked Questions - Internet Prescribing and Practicing. Medical Board of California.

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.

Telehealth: Should You Try an Online Doctor? (May 2018). Consumer Reports.

New Medicaid Telehealth Standards in Massachusetts Draw Criticism. (March 2019). mHealth Intelligence.

The Use of Anti-Anxiety Medication Xanax. (May 2019). Verywell Health.