Vivarin Pills Caffeine and Ingredients (complete guide)

What are caffeine pills?

In general, caffeine pills are dietary supplements that are filled with- you guessed it- caffeine. 

Some caffeine pills contain natural caffeine, while others contain synthetic caffeine, and we’ll discuss the difference between these two in a moment.

Caffeine is essentially a drug that affects the central nervous system, stimulating the receptors that causes increased neuron firing, and thus releasing adrenaline into the system and causing your heart to beat faster.

What are Vivarin caffeine pills?

Vivarin markets itself as a ‘caffeine alertness aid’, and they say that this is ‘functional caffeine for mental alertness’. 

The word that interests me most in this context is ‘functional’. To me, that implies that it’s solely supposed to help keep you awake, rather than anything else.

The pills are clearly supposed to help you become more awake or alert when feeling tired and sleepy, and with around 200mg per pill, that’s about as much as a strong cup of coffee, but without the great taste.

A box of Vivarin contains 16 pills.
Each pack of Vivarin contains 16 caffeine pills.

Vivarin caffeine pills ingredients

Vivarin has a short and simple ingredient list:

  • Caffeine – 200mg
  • Calcium – 65mg

Vivarin gets straight to the point here, with no frills or fluff whatsoever. To be fair, the pills are meant to be swallowed quickly and efficiently, for those who are on the go and can’t afford to waste any time.

Compared to the long ingredients list found with other energy drinks, Vivarin is a positive energy boost for anyone on a diet or looking to lose weight, because you do not need to worry about any of the other sweeteners, artificial or natural, and how that affects your body in conjunction with the caffeine.

The addition of calcium into the pill is to offset the negative effects of caffeine absorbing calcium from other items in your diet, which can be a problem for some individuals.

The only downside is that this might not work for everyone- caffeine affects everyone differently, so you might find that Vivarin is not as effective for you as it is for others.

To see how Vivarin’s caffeine content compares to some of the energy drinks with the highest caffeine, check out my other article.

There are also inactive ingredients listed with Vivarin, which are used in helping bind the caffeine into a solid form:

Despite the fact that these ingredients are listed as inactive, it’s pretty doubtful as to whether or not these are actually good for you. In fact, the more reading I do about some of these ingredients, the more concerned I am about them. 

I talk more about the dangers of these “inactive ingredients” here with regard to caffeine pills in general.

Caffeine pills contain inactive ingredients that have been linked to cancer.
Caffeine pills contain a lot of scary sounding “inactive ingredients” – but do they affect your body in other ways? 

Vivarin caffeine pills vs Coffee

In terms of effectiveness and caffeine content, Vivarin and two cups of coffee contain around the same amount of caffeine. Vivarin contains around 200mg of caffeine, a cup of coffee is also more or less 95mg.

Most regular coffee drinkers drink at least 2 cups a day, so that makes it about 200mg of caffeine as well

In terms of taste and enjoyment, it’s obvious that coffee wins out here, with no competition whatsoever. There is a reason why coffee is considered a socialized drug, and is widespread across the world. Vivarin, as mentioned before, is more concerned with efficiency- caffeine and an energy boost without having to worry about anything else.

In terms of nutritional value, coffee loses out here, seeing as people often add a lot of creamers and sugar, but if consumed black with no sugar coffee can be very healthy.

How long does a Vivarin caffeine pill last?

The directions on the packaging say that adults and children 12 years of age and over should only take a single tablet every 3-4 hours. 

Of course, this differs for people who are habitual caffeine consumers. People who are used to consuming large amounts of caffeine may not find this pill effective in the recommended dosage because their reaction to caffeine has decreased over time.

You have to take into account your individual sensitivity to caffeine as well- for some people maybe half a pill would work as well as another person who has consumed an entire pill.

How many Vivarin caffeine pills can I take a day?

Given that you should only take a single pill every 3-4 hours, and keeping in mind that the daily recommended dose of caffeine per day is around 400mg of caffeine, you should only take a maximum of 2 Vivarin caffeine pills per day and that’s only if that is the only caffeine you will consume for the entire day.

Any more than that might put you at risk of too much caffeine.

If you are taking Vivarin in conjunction with other caffeinated food or drink (which you really shouldn’t), then a single pill a day should be more than enough.

If you find that you are incredibly sensitive to caffeine but still need that extra energy boost, give REIZE a try, as it has only 50mg of caffeine and gets most of the energy from the taurine, ginseng and B vitamins included in the drink, but is still just as easy as taking a caffeine pill.

The Vivarin caffeine pills packaging.
Warnings and directions on the back of a Vivarin pack. 

How much do Vivarin caffeine pills cost?

On Amazon, a single pack of 16 tablets costs around $6.84, and this is without considering shipping costs.

This means that a single tablet costs about $0.43, which is a really good price for those looking for an energy boost without breaking the bank.

Compared to energy drinks out there which cost around $2 per can, this is a great price. However, those energy drinks do contain supplements for energy, like taurine, sugar, and the various other ingredients they use to make a tasty drink.

Where to buy Vivarin caffeine pills?

You cannot get Vivarin caffeine pills directly from their website, but you can get them online from Amazon

You can also get them from your local store, like CVS, Walgreens and Target. Your local pharmacy may also stock them.

What side effects does Vivarin caffeine pills have?

Typical negative side effects that are associated with taking caffeine pills in excess are: 

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle jerking (jitters)
  • Disorientation

But caffeine pills also have certain positive side effects: 

  • Energy boost (of course)
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Better memory retention
  • Can help reduce headaches

The warnings that come with the packaging are numerous in amount, and besides the usual ones where you should not consume pills if you are a child under 12 and have to be careful if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, they also ask you to be aware of:

  • Limiting the use of other food and drink that contains caffeine
  • Consulting a doctor if fatigue or drowsiness continues to recur
  • This is for occasional use only

Are caffeine pills good for you?

Each Vivarin caffeine pill has 200mg of caffeine inside.
Each Vivarin pill contains 200mg of caffeine, and little else. 

Caffeine pills can help you overcome sleepiness and have been shown to help with increased focus and concentration. 

If you really need a concentrated and short boost of energy to get you through a task- like if you’re driving overnight or have an assignment you really need to get through, then caffeine pills are good for that specific task.

However, these should not be relied on in daily life, so they’re for occasional use only.

Caffeine does not only help keep you awake and alert, but it also has some other positive benefits, like helping you reduce the symptoms of a migraine, and they can be a laxative as well.

Are caffeine pills bad for you?

If over-consumed, then yes, caffeine pills are definitely bad for you.

A caffeine overdose is rare, but serious, because the side effects that come with a caffeine overdose can affect your ability to do work and in extreme cases, can give you a panic attack.

Taking an excess of caffeine pills can also cause you to be dependent on them, like any other drug. This can then cause withdrawal symptoms like intense fatigue, headaches and anxiety.

Natural vs synthetic caffeine pills

What are natural caffeine pills?

Natural caffeine pills are pills that derive their caffeine from natural sources, that include plants like guarana berries, tea leaves, coffee beans and yerba mate.

The caffeine is first extracted from these natural sources, and when they have been distilled into a concentrated form, they put them into a pill.

What are synthetic caffeine pills?

Synthetic caffeine pills are pills that are made from a chemical synthesis of urea and chloroacetic acid, as opposed to being extracted from plant material.

Although both natural and synthetic caffeine are chemically identical, the sources are completely different. As of now, there are no studies that say which is better than the other, and synthetic caffeine does not seem to have any negative side effects as compared to natural caffeine.

It’s not really clear whether Vivarin contains synthetic or natural caffeine, but since they didn’t state which was used, I’m willing to bet that they’ve used synthetic caffeine, as it’s probably cheaper- that’s my opinion though, I could be wrong!

Vivarin might be super efficient, but you lose a lot of the tasting experience that you get with other energy boosters, like energy drinks or powders.

Caffeine pills vs energy drinks


In terms of caffeine, the average energy drink contains anywhere from 50mg of caffeine (REIZE) to 300mg of caffeine (Bang), so it does fluctuate wildly depending on the drink of your choice.

Caffeine pills typically contain around 200mg of caffeine, which is quite significant as well, such as in the case of Vivarin.


Caffeine pills typically do not contain any sugar at all, because the taste isn’t really the main selling point here. Other energy drinks usually do add sugar and artificial sweeteners to their drinks, which may not be ideal for anyone looking to reduce their sugar consumption.


With regards to the price, caffeine pills definitely win out. Vivarin costs $6.84 for a pack of 16, while a single can of energy drink typically costs around $2-3.

If you’re looking for something really cost-effective, caffeine pills are the way to go.

However, there are some very affordable energy drinks available too. Not all energy drinks are a rip off.

Vivarin caffeine pills review


I thought that the packaging was effective and definitely screamed alertness, what with the black and yellow colour scheme. I guess it was supposed to invoke the idea that these pills give the same ‘buzz’ that a bee does? I might be extrapolating a little bit here.

The pills themselves were bright yellow, always a good choice when trying to market something as keeping you awake- it’s such a cheerful color that no one can resist.


I included this because I have done this for all my other reviews, but really there isn’t much to say here. You guys know how a pill works- you swallow it directly. In the case that you do accidentally end up tasting it, it’s usually more bitter than anything else.

I would not recommend chewing it, and make sure to wash it down with the liquid of your choice!


Personally, I’d always thought that caffeine affects me quite a lot, so I took half a pill at first just to be safe.

Since the package directed me to take it when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness, I took it in the afternoon after experiencing the effects of a food coma smack in the middle of trying to do readings for my essay.

To my disappointment, it didn’t give me the big jolt of energy I was hoping for, so I went ahead and took the other half about half an hour after taking the other one.

While I definitely wasn’t sleepy anymore (perhaps I had digested everything), I didn’t feel like I was particularly alert or high functioning as I usually do when consuming an energy drink.

Alternatives to caffeine pills

There are lots of great energy drinks on the market. If you’re interested in trying out liquid energy drinks, which have a better consumption experience, take a look at:

Powdered energy drinks are also a great option, and they tend to be more convenient and also more affordable than a lot of the more famous energy drinks on the market, but with the same great flavor and efficacy, comparable to caffeine pills in efficiency, but better in taste:

In particular, REIZE is an powdered energy drink that is easy to carry around and to make – just add water.

With 50mg of caffeine, REIZE doesn’t have the same amount of caffeine that your typical caffeine pill does, but it is a lot more convenient and can be tailored to your individual tastes, since you can add all types of liquids to it- soda, hot water, cold water, flavored juice, it’s up to you!

REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, pretty comparable to Vivarin and such more affordable than most energy drinks on the market. 

Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that you prefer REIZE to Vivarin caffeine pills.

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Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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