The Blue Pill (Viagra): Everything You Need To Know (2024)

Learn all about the blue pill for men (Viagra) and what makes it one of the most popular ED tablets in the UK in our comprehensive guide!

Published: Friday 08 March 2024

ed blue pill

What is the blue pill?

The ‘blue pill’ (also referred to as ‘the little blue pill’) is another name for Viagra - one of the most popular erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments for men. As the name suggests, the blue pill has a distinct blue colour and is shaped like a diamond. Viagra Connect (an over-the-counter ED medication) is also referred to as the blue pill and has a similar appearance to Viagra.

What does the blue pill do?

The blue pill helps men treat erectile dysfunction by acting on certain enzymes in the body to increase blood flow to the penis. The two types of blue pills mentioned in the previous section (Viagra and Viagra Connect) contain the active ingredient sildenafil citrate.

How does the blue pill work?

The blue pill works due to the scientific mechanism of its active ingredient, sildenafil citrate. This ingredient prevents an enzyme called PDE-5 from breaking down cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) - a molecule inside the body that affects the widening of the blood vessels.[1]

Once the blue pill is ingested, the body’s cGMP levels rise, improving blood flow to the penis which helps with getting and maintaining an erection.

Recommended reading: Erectile Dysfunction - Everything You Need to Know

How to take the blue pill?

The blue pill should be swallowed whole with a glass of water approximately one hour before engaging in sexual activity. For best results, it should be taken on an empty stomach and alcohol should be avoided.

It is not recommended to take the blue pill without consulting a pharmacist or doctor beforehand. Do not take more than the prescribed dosage of the blue pill.

How long does it take to feel the effects of blue pills?

The effects of blue pills can typically be felt after 1 hour of ingesting them. If a blue pill is taken after a big meal, the absorption of the active ingredient inside it (sildenafil citrate) may take longer, increasing the time taken for the onset of effects.

How long do the effects of the little blue pill last?

The duration of the effects of the little blue pill can vary from person to person depending on factors such as the individual’s metabolism and age.

According to research, sildenafil citrate has a half-life of 4 hours, which means it takes 4 hours for the concentration of sildenafil citrate in the blood to reduce to half of the original amount.[2] This may be why some men can experience the effects of the little blue pill for several hours after taking it.

The main types of blue pills for men


Viagra is a branded ED medication manufactured by Pfizer. It is often referred to as the original blue pill as it was the first ever ED treatment on the market, sold as small blue tablets containing sildenafil citrate. Viagra pills for men have been on the market since 1989 when the manufacturer Pfizer Pharmaceuticals first tested them in the UK.

Sildenafil (generic Viagra)

Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra and is typically available as a white pill. There is no difference between the main active ingredient in the blue and white pill (Viagra and Sildenafil respectively). Both of these ED pills contain sildenafil citrate, which means they are medically equivalent and produce identical effects. The only difference is the price and branding - Sildenafil is cheaper than Viagra as it is not branded.

Viagra Connect

Viagra Connect is an over-the-counter Viagra alternative manufactured by Pfizer. Each Viagra Connect ED tablet contains 50 mg of the active ingredient sildenafil citrate and can be bought without a prescription in the UK, provided the individual completes a consultation with a pharmacist.

Alternative ED pills

In addition to the three types of blue pills discussed in the previous section, there are several other ED tablets available on the market that also function as PDE-5 inhibitors. In other words, they have the same underlying scientific mechanism as the little blue pill, but they vary in appearance, effect onset time, and duration of the effects.

Recommended reading: Which Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Is Best For Me? (2024)

Tadalafil (Generic Cialis)

Tadalafil is the generic version of the branded ED treatment Cialis. It contains the active ingredient of the same name (Tadalafil) and is often referred to as ‘the weekend pill’.

The scientific mechanism of Tadalafil is identical to that of sildenafil citrate (the active ingredient in blue pills). However, Tadalafil has a half-life of 17.5 hours, which means it can remain effective for up to 36 hours.[3]


Cialis is medically equivalent to Tadalafil and produces identical effects, but it is more expensive as it is branded. It is often referred to as ‘the yellow pill’ and contains the active ingredient Tadalafil.

Tadalafil (generic Cialis) and Cialis are both available in four doses - 2.5 mg (low dosage for daily use), 5 mg (standard dosage for daily use), 10 mg (Standard dosage for 36-hour efficacy - popularly used over the weekend, hence the name ‘the weekend pill’), and 20 mg (high dosage for 36-hour efficacy).

Cialis Together

Cialis Together is an over-the-counter version of Cialis and Tadalafil (generic Cialis). It comes as a yellow pill and contains 10 mg of Tadalafil.

Vardenafil (Generic Levitra)

Vardenafil is an erectile dysfunction medicine typically recommended for diabetic men because of its unique molecular structure. Vardenafil enhances blood flow to the penis through the same scientific mechanism as other PDE-5 inhibitors containing Sildenafil and Tadalafil.

Spedra (Avanafil)

Spedra is available as a pale yellow pill and is formulated for a faster onset of effects (typically 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion). This time frame currently makes it the fastest-acting ED treatment on the market.

Key considerations before taking the blue pill


Viagra is available in three variants containing different amounts of the active ingredient sildenafil citrate.

The lowest dose is 25 mg and is normally prescribed for men who have tried the 50 mg dosage of blue Viagra pills and have experienced side effects. It may also be prescribed for men who intend to take other medications along with the blue pill, including Alpha-blockers, medicine to regulate blood pressure and HIV treatments.

The medium dose is 50 mg and is typically the recommended starting dose for men looking to take the little blue pill as it is normally sufficient to treat ED in most men. Viagra Connect is exclusively available as a 50 mg dose.

The highest dose is 100 mg and is normally prescribed exclusively for men who have used the 50 mg blue pill at least four times and have found that the erection is insufficient. The 100 mg dose of the little blue pill must not be consumed more than once every 24 hours.

Duration of the effects

Viagra is most likely to be effective within 4 hours of taking it. This does not mean the erection will last for 4 hours - it simply means the effects can be felt within this time frame. The actual duration of the effects can vary depending on the time it takes for the individual to ejaculate, after which the erection naturally subsides.

Blue pill side effects

The side effects of Viagra only affect a small percentage of men who take this ED treatment. The majority of men will not experience any blue pill side effects; those who do may experience a headache, dizziness, nasal congestion, nausea or an upset stomach.

In some instances, the blue pill can cause fatigue, a high temperature, a rash, diarrhoea, or breathing issues. In extremely rare occasions, the blue pill may also cause blood pressure changes, heartbeat irregularity, fainting or a nosebleed.

Where can I buy the little blue pill?

The little blue pill is available in pharmacies across the UK, including online pharmacies such as Pharmica that offer an online consultation to determine treatment eligibility.

It is important to note that both Viagra and Viagra Connect come in the form of small blue pills, however, Viagra requires a prescription that can be obtained following an online consultation with Pharmica. In contrast, Viagra Connect can be ordered without a prescription.

Buy the blue pill with fast and discreet delivery from Pharmica

Pharmica has helped countless men buy the little blue pill online for quick and discreet delivery across the UK. We’re rated 4.9/5 from more than 182,000 reviews and use cutting-edge technology and automation to provide customers and patients with a seamless online pharmacy experience. We also offer medically-reviewed health advice based on the latest research through our popular email newsletter and articles published on the Health Hub.

Buy the blue pill now and explore our broad range of clinically proven treatments for an array of other conditions today.

  1. Huang & Lie. (2013). Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors in the management of erectile dysfunction, P&T: A Peer-Reviewed Journal For Formulary Management, 38(7), pp. 407–419. Available at: [Accessed 04 March 2024].
  2. Eardley et al. (2002). Onset and duration of action of sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 53(1), pp. 61-65. Available at: [Accessed 04 March 2024].
  3. Coward & Carson. (2008). Tadalafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(6), pp. 1315–1330. Available at: [Accessed 04 March 2024].
Kamran Bell

Written by: Kamran Bell

Pharmacist・GPHC Number 2231070

Kamran graduated with a four-year master's degree in pharmacy from Aston University in 2021. He completed a pre-registration year at a community pharmacy before working there for a further year. At Pharmica, Kamran provides expert patient advice and addresses clinical questions to ensure the health and well-being of our patients.

Carolina Goncalves

Medically Reviewed by: Carolina Goncalves

Superintendent Pharmacist・GPHC Number 2088658

Carolina Goncalves is the Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmica, where she ensures patients receive exceptional healthcare and support, as part of a seamless online pharmacy service.

With a comprehensive professional background spanning more than 13 years, Carolina has extensive experience supporting Men’s and Women’s health. Carolina is responsible for providing expert treatment advice to thousands of patients in areas such as Sexual Health, Erectile Dysfunction, Hair Loss, Weight Loss and Asthma.

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