The "D" in "FD&C
Red Dye #40" stands for "Drugs" and it means
the chemical is approved for use as a colorant in drugs.
You may be wondering how a color helps the
drugs work better, and we were wondering that too. The answer,
it seems, is that it makes the medication more appealing and
more recognizable. If a tablet, liquid or capsule is recognizably
colored, it makes it more readily identifiable both during
dispensing and when advertising the product.
You need to remember that medications are
products just like sodas, candy bars and automobiles. There's
millions and millions of dollars invested in "branding"
a product to make it more recognizable and desirable, ultimately
to increase sales and profits for the parent company.
There is a psychological effect of color
- "active" colors such as red or yellow tend to
make us feel more alert and "passive" colors such
as blue or green tend to makes us feel more relaxed. Depending
on the expected effect of the medication, the manufacturer
may impart a color to help suggest the desired response. In
reality, the color has no effect on the effectiveness of the
medication, which is why it's listed under inactive
ingredients on the label.