Pizzazz for pills

September 1, 2006

National report - Drug companies can now start beautifying their pills with pigments like those that give cosmetics a pearly sheen, the Associated Press reports.

National report - Drug companies can now start beautifying their pills with pigments like those that give cosmetics a pearly sheen, the Associated Press reports.

Pearlescent pigments can be used in any drugs that are swallowed, including pills, tablets and liquids, the Food and Drug Administration has decided. The pigments can produce sparkly metallic, satiny and shimmery finishes, as well as different hues of red and gold, depending partly on the color of the underlying drug.

The pigments are made by coating the mineral mica with either titanium dioxide or iron oxide, or both. The pigments cannot make up more than 3 percent of the weight of the drug, the AP reports.