Skipped your meds? Don’t just double up!
Adherence is the fancy word for “following doctors’ orders.” What it really means, for most people, is remembering to take your medication. It may sound simple, but as many as 50% of people do not take their medicine correctly. They forget dosages, take medications at the wrong time, ignore instructions, and even deliberately change dosages, taking more or less than they should.
Even if you’re the most organized person, you’ve probably missed a medication dosage at least once. Sometimes the skipped doses cause no obvious problems. But many medications won’t work right if you don’t take them when and the way you’re supposed to.
What exactly happens when you skip a dosage is very dependent on the medication and how long the drug stays in your system. In general, many maintenance medication remain in your bloodstream for a while. So, if you miss a dosage once in a while (emphasis on once in a while – don’t make it a habit), it’s typically not a huge deal, since some of your last dosage will still be in your system.
Other medication – like antibiotic treatments for infections – exit your bloodstream quickly. If you skip a dosage, your condition could worsen or become harder to treat, or you might experience unpleasant side effects or complications.
A general rule of thumb is:
If it has been less than 2 hours since your missed dosage, go ahead and take it. Then keep taking later dosages as usual.
If it has been more than 2 hours since your missed dosage, the answer depends on how often you take your medication:
- If you usually take it once or twice a day, it’s probably safe to take it as long as your next dosage isn’t for another few hours. Don’t do this with insulin.
- If you take it three or more times a day, it’s usually safe to wait and take your next dosage at the regular time.
If you’re supposed to take a particular prescription in the morning and at night, but you missed the morning dose, don’t take two pills at night.
There’s one (very important!) exception to this rule: birth control. Missing your daily pill could lead to big consequences – like an unintended pregnancy. If you forget a dosage and don’t realise until the next day, take two pills at your usual time (instead of the usual single pill) and also use a back-up form of birth control for the next seven days.
If you get your prescription filled and don’t take actions to make sure you take your medications correctly and on time, you are undermining your treatment and potential progress either in curing your ailment or effectively managing it.
For those of us who have difficulty keeping all of our drug therapies in order or who simply find it difficult to maintain our prescribed medication regimen, these tips for remembering your medications and sticking to your treatment plan may provide a solution.
- Set an alarm
- Write it into the daily schedule
- Combine it with an activity like brushing teeth
- Put in on your calendar
- Put the medication within view and not hidden in a cabinet
- Purchase a pill sorter
Basically, any sort of reminder will work. The goal is to take the medication to completion and not miss any doses. Always ask the prescribing physician or your pharmacist when in doubt.
Your nearest The Local Choice Pharmacy may offer the Blister Packing Service. Each blister pack is hygienically divided into days of the week, and time of the day and filled with your unique combination of medication. The Local Choice Pharmacy uses qualified staff in a controlled environment, ensuring accuracy and safety.
Blister packing gives one an overall picture of your medicine plan, which ensures better management. It will make your life easier and safer. To find your nearest The Local Choice Pharmacy, simply use our branch locator here.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.
Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional should you have any questions regarding a medical condition or your overall health.