Form Over Substance in Medication0

According to recent study from the University of Bombay, New Mumbai, India published in the International Journal of Biotechnology, how medication looks, feels and tastes may be almost as important as how well it works, especially for over-the-counter (OTC) products.

In a survey of 600 people, 75% reported that the color and shape of the medication helped them remember the medication. In fact, 14% thought that pink tablets had a sweeter taste than red tablets, and yellow pills were salty. 11% responded that white or blue medication was bitter, and 10% believed orange medication was sour.

According to the researchers: “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 ritual involving perceptions can powerfully affect a patient’s view of treatment effectiveness.” Recognizing that this study may help market medication, the article also acknowledges that that patients do not really appear to focus on the actual contents of the medication.

That being said, twice as many middle-aged people still preferred red tablets than younger adults. Women, too, chose red tablets more often than men.[audio:|titles=White Rabbit]

Additional Sources:  Science Daily; Medical News Today.

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