November 21, 2016

Why Does the Color of Medicine Matter?

Filed under: color,health — Tags: , , , — jpestano @ 10:04 pm


The practice of color coding has an impact on a patient’s psychology. Patients tend to associate the color and shape of a pill with the healing effects of the medication.

It is common for humans to form judgments based on color. Even though it makes no logical sense, the accumulation of experiences and emotions often dictate how people interact with the uses of a product.  For example, yellow is usually associated with optimism or happiness, so brands like McDonalds or SunRype capitalize on this perception. This psychological effect also carries over to the process of self-administrating drugs. Whether it is chewing a tablet, swallowing a pill or drinking a liquid, the color of the substance becomes a significant reminder of the sensory experience that corresponds to ingesting that drug.

This phenomenon is well-known in color psychology. Your brain attributes a level of trust when taking a medication that is a pleasing color. It causes you to think that this medication is suited to your desired function and triggers a sensory reminder when you see a different pill.

For instance, many children’s medication are made in pink and  purposely sweetened. The positive association with the taste of pink medication usually makes it easier for a person to ingest other pink products such as pills. On the other hand, red tablets tend to be associated with a bitter taste.