Color of Medication Affects Efficacy - News

Color of Medication Affects Efficacy - News

According to recent research the color, shape, taste and even name of a tablet or pill can have an effect on how patients feel about their medication. Choose an appropriate combination and the placebo effect gives the pill a boost, improves outcomes and might even reduce side effects. Now, researchers at the University of Bombay, New Mumbai, India, have surveyed users of over-the-counter (OTC) medication to find out just how much the color of a tablet influences patient choice.

Writing in the International Journal of Biotechnology, R.K. Srivastava and colleagues report that red and pink tablets are preferred over other colors. Their survey of 600 people showed that for three quarters of people the color and shape of their tablets act as a memory tag for compliance. Strangely, they found that 14 percent of people think of pink tablets as tasting sweeter than red tablets whereas a yellow tablet is perceived as salty irrespective of its actual ingredients. 11% thought of white or blue tablets as tasting bitter and 10% said orange-colored tablets were sour.

Choose an appropriate combination and the placebo effect gives the pill a boost, improves outcomes and might even reduce side effects.

by higlu

Twice as many middle-aged people preferred red tablets as younger adults and more women chose red tablets as were chosen by men. Color seems to be integral component of an OTC product, the team says.

14% think pink tablets taste sweeter than red tablets; Yellow is perceived as salty; 11% thought white or blue tablets as tasting bitter; 10% said orange tablets were sour.

Patients may trust their doctor or pharmacist, but this does not mean they will take the bitterest pill. "Patients undergo a sensory experience every time they self-administer a drug, whether it's swallowing a tablet or capsule, chewing a tablet, swallowing a liquid, or applying a cream or ointment," the team says. "The ritual involving perceptions can powerfully affect a patient's view of treatment effectiveness." The researchers suggest that it might be possible to ensure that all the sensory elements of given medication work together to create positive perceptions that complement the medical attributes. They point out, however, that surprisingly little attention has been paid to this aspect of pharmaceutical formulation.

by formatbrain_

The research has implications for marketing OTC medication to different age groups and to men and women. However, given that compliance in taking medication strongly depends on the patient's perception of that medication the study could also have important connotations for improving effects. If patients are disinclined to take a tablet they consider bitter or sour or because they simply do not like the color, then a change of aesthetics might be needed. The same research might apply equally to prescription medicines.

Text from EurekAlert! Header image by pinkangelbabe.

by sparktography

A Dose of Color Medicine

Even color lovers have a preference of "pill" colors... Browse the Color Library to see what colors are more prevalent than others.

choke_on_your_pills pill

Pills_To_Sleep happy_pill

Canadian_Pills purple_pill

pills_or_smarties orange_powdery_pills

Pills happy_pill

pills chill_pill

codeine_pills bitter_pill

strange_pills this_bitter_pill

bitter_pill green_pill

Pills_Pills_Pills Pill_On_My_Tongue

green_pill sleeping_pill

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 Comments
I definitely agree with the article.
As a nurse, I have handled many patients of various ages.
And I have seen different reactions when they're about to be given with medicine of different colors.
I noticed that the brighter or happier color the tablets, capsules, or pills are, the more likely they're going to take it (esp. for pedia patients)
Very interesting! Great article - thanks for sharing! =)
I would love to see them do a structured study with a blindfolded control group. Of course, it's very difficult to measure efficacy because patient's reports of how well or poorly a drug works is going to be subjective, regardless of whether they try to be objective in their reporting or not. Perhaps the best test would be of a pill that is supposed to have a specific affect on a physical characteristic, e.g. blood pressure. Find a group, take blood pressure measurements some number of times prior to the experiment to establish a baseline average, & then give the blindfolded patients the medication & take the same number of pressure measurements over the same period of time post-medication. Averaging the percentage of blood pressure drop in the patients will provide a better means of determining the efficacy of the drug by eliminating as much human bias as possible.

I think this test is interesting, & the results are telling about how our preconceived notions of things can influence how well they work for (or against) us when we need to have them in our lives. Still, I think we can get better results by doing a test that's as controlled as possible, though in cases like these it's going to be impossible to control all variables. The power of color on the human mind, though, is unmistakable. Rooms painted certain colors are conducive to so many different behaviors: cool blues can be calming, warm neutrals relaxing, yellow can cause argumentativeness, & red can cause rage or anger, though red is complicated & depends on how close it resembles the primary color & whether or not the tint or shade in question is warm or cool. Frankly, I have found from personal choices, mistakes & successes, in my own living environments that the temperature & the use of a tint or shade can have a greater effect on behavior than the actual choice of "red," "blue," "yellow," or "green."
this palette was made from a photo of ecstasy pills...see palette page
I can definitely relate to this article.
I once had to take a dark green pill, and it made me wary just by the color because it looked gross.

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