Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Color and shape of pills affects how patients feel about their medication

Date:
January 19, 2011
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
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 have surveyed users of over-the-counter medication to find out just how much the color of a tablet influences patient choice.

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.

Related Articles


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.

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.

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.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R.K. Srivastava, Aarti T. More. Some aesthetic considerations for over the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products. International Journal of Biotechnology, 2010; 11 (3/4): 267 DOI: 10.1504/IJBT.2010.036600

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Color and shape of pills affects how patients feel about their medication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115110959.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2011, January 19). Color and shape of pills affects how patients feel about their medication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115110959.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Color and shape of pills affects how patients feel about their medication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115110959.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins