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Can a Virtual Doctor Write a Prescription?

writtenByWritten by: Margaret A Spera, NP, APRN
Margaret A Spera, NP, APRN

Margaret A Spera, NP, APRN

Margaret Spera is a Connecticut-based nurse practitioner. She has worked in hospital settings, family practices and senior care facilities for over 40 years.

Read more posts by this author.

December 10, 2020 Read Time - 4 minutes

Virtual doctors and telehealth platforms are creating a much more efficient (and legal) process for getting diagnoses and prescription treatment online.

A virtual doctor can write a prescription online and electronically send it to your local pharmacy, after an online consultation. 

Let’s take a closer look at virtual doctors, how a virtual doctor visit works, and the precautions virtual doctors take to ensure your safety.

Virtual Doctors and Prescriptions

Following diagnosis from your virtual doctor visit, you may be prescribed medication for treatment or symptom management at home.

The process for receiving a virtual doctor prescription is generally the same as seeing a doctor in person.

First, book an online appointment. If you’re ready now, you can book a virtual visit with PlushCare here. 

Second, chat with the doctor as you would in person. Describe your symptoms, medical history and ask any questions. Most consultations take 15 minutes.

Third, if necessary, the doctor writes you a prescription. Your doctor will have a digital prescription sent directly to the pharmacy of your choice.

Fourth, you can pick your medication up at your local pharmacy. 

To learn more about how online doctor visits work, including insurance and pricing information, click here.

Can You Get a Prescription Online?

Yes, you can get a prescription online as long as it comes from a doctor.

The Federation of State Medical Boards and other non-profit organizations continue to endorse regulations and national policies that support prescriptions from virtual doctors if certain technical and medical criteria are met.

The most common types of prescriptions that virtual doctors write include:

There are many more prescriptions virtual doctors can write than the ones listed above.

What Prescriptions Will Virtual Doctors Not Write?

Prescription policies differ from state to state, platform to platform and doctor to doctor.

Prescriptions that all virtual doctors cannot write include:

  • Medicinal marijuana
  • Stimulants, including Adderall and Ritalin
  • Antipsychotic medications such as Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal
  • Sedatives and sleep aids, including Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, and Lunesta
  • Narcotics, like morphine, oxycodone, and Vicodin

Does PlushCare Prescribe Xanax?

No. PlushCare and all other digital healthcare providers are unable to prescribe controlled substances, such as Xanax.

It is illegal for anyone to prescribe, sell or buy Xanax online.

While we are unable to prescribe Xanax, there are many other anti-anxiety medications our doctors can prescribe. In fact, anxiety treatment is one of the main reasons people use our services here at PlushCare.

Book an appointment to talk to a doctor about why you’re interested in anti-anxiety medication and if they find you may benefit from a prescription, they will electronically send one to your local pharmacy, where you can pick up your medication.

Read: Can You Buy Anxiety Medication Online?

How Virtual Doctors Maintain Safety

Keeping patients safe is a doctor’s responsibility. They should be able to fully explain the prescription process and give you reasons for taking a certain medication over others.

Electronic prescriptions can potentially improve the overall safety of prescriptions while maintaining efficiency. For virtual prescribing, most of the safety and precautions come from the actual examination, consultation, and diagnosis.

To maintain safety, the virtual doctor will:

  • Identify what’s causing your current condition and perform a thorough examination of your health
  • Determine all your current medical conditions, which includes any past drug history and current prescriptions and over-the-counter medications used
  • Make sure that your condition presents enough justification to prescribe medication
  • Rule out the possibility of any contraindications, which refer to any situation where the medication may cause harm to the patient, either based on personal health or interactions with other medication
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.


Get Prescribed Online

If you’re wondering if you can get a prescription without seeing a doctor the answer is yes and no.

All prescription medication requires a consultation with a doctor, but as discussed above, you can meet this doctor via phone or video chat.

Just be sure you use a reputable site like PlushCare so you know your getting a real medical evaluation and legitimate prescriptions.

There are a lot of scams on the internet offering discounted drugs without prescriptions. These sites are illegal and dangerous as there is no way to verify the medication is what you need and in the correct dosage.

To get a prescription from a virtual doctor, book an appointment and get treated today.

Virtual Doctor FAQ

What are virtual doctors?

Virtual doctors are board certified physicians who choose to practice online instead of in a traditional office setting. Online doctors are just as qualified as in-person doctors.

What can a virtual doctor treat?

Virtual doctors can treat all non emergency conditions. They are great for primary and urgent care. Some of the top reasons people use virtual doctors are: to get antibiotics, to get birth control, to get ED medication, to receive mental health support, to manage chronic conditions and get prescription refills.

How much does a virtual doctor visit cost?

The cost of a virtual doctor visit will vary from platform to platform depending on their pricing and whether or not they accept insurance. At PlushCare we treat patients with or without insurance. If you’re insured you’ll pay your typical office copay, the average insured patient pays less than $25. If you’re uninsured we have a fee of $119.

Can I get a prescription without seeing a doctor?

Yes, you can get a prescription without seeing a doctor by virtually meeting with your doctor online. While you still need to consult with a doctor to legally get a prescription, it is much more convenient and efficient to have your visit online.

Can virtual doctors prescribe antibiotics?

Yes, virtual doctors can prescribe antibiotics following your online consultation and the diagnosis of a bacterial infection. Your antibiotic prescription will be sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice.

Read More About Virtual Doctors:


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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