Why are pills made brown
Colored pills are easier to distinguish for patients - this is particularly advantageous for seniors, who often have to take a large number of tablets at different times of the day. The color structures the intake rhythm, for example the red pill in the morning, the white pill at noon, and the blue pill in the evening. In this way, the drugs are not easily mixed up and there are fewer errors in use. Color-blind people and those with poor eyesight have a problem here, however.
The more conspicuous the tablets are (color, shape, but also dosage form), the easier they are to be recognized (e.g. the blue potency pill or the headache tablet with a cross). Some patients can often no longer remember the name of the medication they have taken, but they can remember its color. This can also be helpful for doctors, as they may be able to draw conclusions about the drug.
However, pills that are too loud can lead to the assumption that it is safe to take many of them (such as chocolate lentils or candies). For some manufacturers, however, this effect is not entirely undesirable.
It can become problematic and confusing if the manufacturer suddenly changes the color of a drug. Patients are then often unsure whether they still contain the same active ingredient or whether they have received the wrong product.
Blue calms you down, red wakes you up
The color of a drug not only promotes recognition, but also has an influence on the effectiveness of the drug and its acceptance by patients. For example, color plays an important role in the placebo effect of pills and tablets. There are a number of studies that have come to the following results, for example: Depressed patients responded better to yellow tablets than to green or red ones. Sedatives (placebos) with a red color were perceived by test persons as stimulating, while those with a blue color were perceived as calming. In contrast, patients with high blood pressure had a preference for white tablets. Overall, red and black tablets appear to be more effective than white; and browns are said to be the most laxative.
The color red stands for "exciting", "active", "hot", "dangerous". Blue is more associated with the terms "calming", "cool" and "relaxed", while white stands for "pure", "immaculate" and "neutral". Pharmaceutical manufacturers have been making use of these findings from color psychology for a long time: tranquilizers are therefore often colored blue, stomach pills are green, strong pain relievers and cardiovascular preparations are red, antidepressants and stimulants are red, yellow or pastel colors, and contraceptive pills are lavender or pink.
Colored injections are most effective
The dosage form of a drug also influences the effect: a syringe works better than an orally administered drug. If the injection solution is also colored, the strongest effect is shown. The purple-colored vitamin B12 injection in the buttocks has a nose ahead of the placebo treatment of pain. A pain researcher calculated that it corresponds to the effect of five milligrams of morphine.
The influence of price and taste
In addition to the color and dosage form, the price and taste of a drug also play a role. Many patients believe that an expensive drug works better than a cheap one, and a bitter-tasting drug works better than a good-tasting one. If a brand name is also engraved on the placebo tablets, this increases the perceived value and thus the effectiveness even further.
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