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How Does Color Affect Medication?

The short answer is that color has no effect on the effect of medication. However, humans have the tendency to form judgement based on color. A common example is your perception of food based on the richness or depth of color . For example, deep red salmon is far more appetizing than a dull pink salmon. The effect extends past food, as color also influences judgement when it comes to self-administrating drugs.

Color can trigger the anticipation of taste.

Whether it is chewing a tablet, swallowing a pill or drinking a liquid, the color of the substance becomes the most significant reminder of the sensory experience that corresponds to ingesting that drug. For instance, it is a common perception that red tablets are more bitter than pink tablets. Common liquid medication supports this ideology as well because many sweet children’s medication are found in pink.

Color can influence a patient’s anticipation of treatment.

This phenomenon is very common when it comes to patients taking anti-depressants. For example, these patients feel less motivated to take dull maroon colored pills because they anticipate that these pills will not be as effective as brightly colored pill. Another example is when patients require a tablet for acid reflux. These patients would much rather prefer a soft pink colored pill than a bright green pill. Often  a brighter green is associated with lime and the sour taste of citric acid, which makes the patient want to avoid that pill.
Overall, it is surprising how color can have such a significant impact on how a person perceives their medication. The well-researched psychological effect of color on the effectiveness of medication describes how people can have a preconceived notion of taking a drug.

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