NEW: Take control of your health with our easy at-home blood test kits. Get your test.

On this page

    Information about the blue pill, Viagra

    On this page
    1. How to take it
    2. How does the little blue pill work?
    3. Alternatives to Viagra
    4. Table of comparison
    5. Other treatments

    ‘The blue pill’ – or ‘the little blue pill’ – is the nickname given to the erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, due to its appearance. Viagra is the most widely used of all erectile dysfunction treatments. Since its introduction in 1998, Viagra has helped millions of men with their erectile dysfunction and has been endorsed by numerous celebrities.

    The iconic blue pill is recognised worldwide, making Viagra arguably the most famous medication in the world. Being a prescription-only medicine, you will need to consult a doctor in order to get Viagra. Through our discreet online consultation process, you can order Viagra through our service without having to speak to a doctor face-to-face.

    How to take it

    One of the main reasons behind Viagra’s popularity is how easy it is to use:

    • Viagra is a blue pill that is swallowed orally.
    • Take Viagra on an empty stomach at least one hour before sex.
    • The effects of Viagra last between 4-6 hours – don’t take it too many hours before sex because the effects can wear off.  
    • If you plan to use Viagra, do not drink more than a couple of units of alcohol since this can reduce its effectiveness.
    • Never take more than one Viagra tablet at a time or in combination with any other erectile dysfunction medication.
    • Don’t take Viagra more than once in a 24-hour period.

    Guidelines on taking Viagra are below, but for more detailed information see our doctors’ article how long does Viagra take to work?  

    How does the little blue pill work?

    The Viagra pill contains an ingredient called sildenafil (Viagra is just the brand name). By relaxing the muscle cells in the penis, Viagra increases blood flow to the penis which helps achieve an erection. Taking the little blue pill has been shown to be effective in achieving an erection for 75% of men with erectile dysfunction. It should be noted that Viagra isn’t an aphrodisiac: it won’t help achieve an erection without sexual arousal. For more information see what is Viagra?  

    Alternatives to Viagra

    The blue pill isn’t the only erectile dysfunction treatment on the market. There are a number of different options to choose from: if one treatment doesn’t work for you, another might. An overview of popular treatments can be found in the table below. 

    Levitra - Levitra comes as a round orange pill. It is similar to Viagra in length of effect but can be taken with meals, unlike Viagra.   

    Cialis - An almond-shaped yellow pill, Cialis is the most expensive ED medication but also the longest lasting. Cialis remains active for up to 36 hours.

    Sildenafil - Comes as a little blue pill, sometimes white. Sildenafil is the active ingredient of Viagra. Essentially, it is Viagra without the Viagra brand name and is thus significantly cheaper.  

    Spedra - A pale yellow, oval pill, Spedra is the fastest acting of all ED treatments. It can take effect within fifteen minutes.

    Kamagra - Kamagra generally comes as a little blue pill, although a more lurid blue than Viagra. It is said to contain sildenafil, the same active ingredient as Viagra. However, Kamagra is illegal to sell or purchase in the UK and it is highly unadvisable that you take it.

    Table of comparison

    Active IngredientSildenafilSildenafilTadalafilVardenafilAvanafil
    Time to take effect30-60 mins30-60 mins15-60 mins30-60 mins15 mins
    Duration of effect4-6 hours4-6 hoursUp to 36 hours4-6 hours4-6 hours
    Distinguishing featuresMost well-knownSame active ingredient as ViagraLongest lasting effectRecommended for diabeticsFast acting

    Other treatments

    Physical treatments for ED such as Vacuum Pumps or Constriction Rings can also be highly effective. Alternatively, counselling can be very beneficial for men whose ED is psychological. Counselling can be combined with ED medication to provide both a short and long-term solution to the problem.


    Find the right erectile dysfunction treatment for you
    View treatment options
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    Visit IE Online Doctor Continue with UK service
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the Republic of Ireland only

    Continue with Irish Service Continue with UK Service