The Blue Pill for Men

What is the blue pill?

The blue pill is the nickname for Viagra, the most well known pill for erectile dysfunction, because of it's distinctive appearance as a blue diamond-shaped pill.

There are also herbal products that use the term blue pill as well. This can be misleading as you might think they’re selling actual Viagra when they’re not.

Find out what you need to know about the blue pill, whether herbal alternatives are safe, and how you can make sure you’re getting genuine Viagra.

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 19 Jul 2021

Blue pill – what is that?

The ‘blue pill’, or ‘little blue pill’ is a nickname given to Viagra, a medication for erectile dysfunction that is globally recognisable as a blue, diamond-shaped, pill. Viagra is the most popular medication for erectile dysfunction, and is perhaps one of the most well-known medications in the world because of its iconic design and use in popular culture.

As “blue pill” or “little blue pill” is not a trademarked brand name or a medical term, these phrases are commonly used to market natural or herbal alternatives to Viagra. This can be misleading as you might think they’re selling actual Viagra when they’re not.

The ‘blue pill’ may also be used in reference to the movie “The Matrix”, and sometimes to ecstasy (MDMA) pills.

The blue pill for erectile dysfunction


Viagra was the first erectile dysfunction medication discovered in 1989 and approved for treatment in the UK in 1998. It’s an effective treatment, helping 74% of men who try it to get and keep erections hard enough for sex.

Since Viagra was first patented by Pfizer, it has been referred to as the ‘blue pill’. This is because the blue diamond shape design of Viagra pills has been part of the branding for this treatment and is often used to distinguish it from other medications.

You can buy Viagra online from services like Superdrug Online Doctor. Simply fill in a short online questionnaire and submit your order. A doctor will check it and approve treatment if it’s right for you. Prices start from £19.99.


Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra. It has the same active ingredient as Viagra, sildenafil citrate. Since Sildenafil is not branded, it’s usually cheaper to buy than Viagra. While a lot of manufacturers don’t colour Sildenafil tablets, some may do to help reinforce the idea that it’s the same treatment as Viagra.

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Does the blue pill cause side effects?

Similar to many medications, there is a chance that Viagra could give you side effects. The most commonly reported problems are:

  • headache
  • flushing (skin redness or feeling hot)
  • stomach ache
  • blocked nose
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • hot flushes
  • changes to sight, including seeing things in blue (cyanopsia) and blurred vision

There’s no way of predicting which side effects you may get, however your medical history, current medical conditions, and your lifestyle may be a contributing factor. You may also not get any side effects.

The patient information leaflet for Viagra includes the list of possible Viagra side effects listed below.

Very common side effects (affects over 1 in 10 people):

  • Headaches

Common side effects (affects up to 1 in 10 people):

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in colour vision and general sight problems
  • Hot flushes
  • Blocked nose (nasal congestion)
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Stomach ache (dyspepsia)

Uncommon side effects (affect up to 1 in 100 people):

  • Inflammation of the nose (rhinitis)
  • Sinus congestion
  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced feeling of touch (hypoesthesia)
  • Infection of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Hypersensitive immune reactions, like allergies or rashes
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Heart palpitations (heart pounding in your chest) and fast heart rhythm (tachycardia)
  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the muscles (myalgia)
  • Skin rashes
  • Blood in the urine (haematuria)

Rare side effects (affect up to 1 in 1000 people):

  • Seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Seeing double (diplopia)
  • Pupils looking big (mydriasis)
  • Deafness
  • Heart attack
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia)
  • Throat tightness
  • Steven-Johnson syndrome (SJS)
  • Serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • A persistent, painful erection (priapism)
  • Irritability

Can you get Bluechew in the UK?

BlueChew is a blue chewable form of sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) available in the US, which is also sometimes marketed as "the blue pill". Unlike Viagra, Bluechew is not made by Pfizer, but by a company called BlueChew. BlueChew offers an online service similar to online erectile dysfunction services in the UK, but it is not available here yet.

The service is a monthly prescription service that doesn’t offer one-off orders for treatment. They offer 30mg and 45mg sildenafil and 6mg and 9mg doses of tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis). These are not standard medication doses offered in the UK.

See for more information.

Are there herbal blue pills

Some companies sell products meant to be herbal equivalents of Viagra. They aren’t licensed medications with active ingredients, like Viagra. They usually contain combinations of herbal ingredients and claim to have the same effect as Viagra. These products aren’t proven to work, and can be dangerous if not properly regulated. Some brands of herbal Viagra in the UK are:

  • Nooky Pills
  • Xcitrex

Nooky Pills

Sold by popular vendors like the highstreet shop Poundland and by sellers online, these are herbal pills marketed as a Viagra alternative. They are coloured blue the same as Viagra but contain no medication, just a combination of herbal supplements. Since they don’t have medication in them and aren't proven to work, they’re unlikely to improve erections.


Xcitrex is the name of a herbal product, which is produced by a company based in Colombia, and it’s sold online as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.

It’s marketed as a herbal food supplement for men, made with natural ingredients. Xcitrex comes in 2 different forms – a blue pill (made to look like Viagra) and a yellow pill (made to look like Cialis).

Despite the way Xcitrex looks, it doesn’t contain the same active ingredient as Viagra or other licensed erectile dysfunction medications. The website suggests taking it every 3 days, 90 minutes before sexual activity. Again this is to make it seem more like real Viagra.

Other nicknames for erectile dysfunction treatments

Like the ‘blue pill’ there’s a few other names used to refer to different erectile dysfunction treatments, including:

  • Erection pills
  • The orange pill
  • The weekend pill
  • Generic Viagra
  • Over the counter Viagra

Erection pills

Erection pills are a broad term used to describe pills used to help people get and keep erections. This can include legitimate medications like Viagra, but may also refer to herbal products not proven to work.

The orange pill and weekend pill

These are both names for Cialis. Like Viagra, Cialis is a branded medication and the orange colouring is part of the brand. Also like Viagra, some generic and herbal pills may be coloured orange to imitate Cialis.

Cialis is also called the weekend pill because the effects can last up to 36 hours, i.e. the best part of a weekend. This makes Cialis the longest lasting erectile dysfunction treatment.

Generic and over the counter Viagra

As mentioned above, Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra. It’s often referred to as ‘generic Viagra’ since Viagra was available first and Sildenafil was only made available when Pfizer’s patent on Viagra ran out in 2013.

More recently in 2017, Viagra became available to buy from pharmacies without a prescription. This over the counter version of Viagra is called Viagra Connect and is also manufactured exclusively by Pfizer.

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