‘Doctor tok say one morning, one afternoon, one evening’ [The doctor said one morning, one afternoon, one evening]
The over-worked physician, the fast-paced pharmacy staff hurriedly tells you take one morning, one afternoon and one evening, twice daily or one time a day, before sleeping, first thing when you wake up or any other instructions on taking your medication.
But what exactly does this mean and why?
Below is a suggestion of some times you could take your medicine.
To most taking your medications is not much of a big deal… ‘as long as it gets into my system I am already getting the treatment I need.’
Though drugs are meant to help us with the healing process, taking them the wrong way or at the wrong time may cause more harm than good.
For proper and complete recovery you have to maximize the benefits your meds bring.
Taking your medication the right way is crucial to getting well; this includes, taking it at the right time, being consistent, following your doctor/pharmacist’s instructions and so much more.
Why timing is important
For most medications, the timing of the day (morning vs evening) may not be of much importance. However, you still have to respect a certain time interval between doses.
- It is required for your treatment plan: High chances you may not get well if you do not take your medications properly.
- Avoiding drug interactions: Sometimes you are told to wait an hour or 2 in between 2 meds. This is because some meds do not mix well when taken with others, and so can cause more harm than good or cancel the effect of the other. e.g. if taking antacids with other medications.
- Reduces side effects: Some medications e.g. sedative antihistamines are advised to be taken in the evening before sleeping because of the drowsy effect they have, respecting this will be of benefit to you.
- Prevent toxicities (overdose): When you don’t respect the spacing interval between doses, you may find yourself with too much of the drug in your system at a given time. This could lead to some serious overdose. Avoid doubling doses when you think the drug is not working or you missed doses.
- Increases consistency/stability: Taking your meds at the same time everyday makes it more difficult for you to forget and this is particularly important in the management of chronic conditions (like hypertension and diabetes) and birth control pills.
- Avoids drug resistance: A common example is antibiotics where concentrations of the drug are to be maintained in a steady state. It is like playing hide and seek with the bacteria…it will become stronger.
How to know the right time to take your medication
With all this, when then is the best time to take our medication?
- Follow your prescription/ Read your hospital book: Your prescription is not meant only for your pharmacist to decipher. It is in your best interest to know what is in your book (your pharmacist, a human remember? can make a mistake). Keep your prescriptions and hospital books very jealously. Do not leave the doctor’s office until you are sure you can read and understand what was written in it.
- Read your drug label: Often times you might buy a medication without a prescription (over-the-counter drugs) and you wonder how/when to take. The best place is to read the drug information leaflet that came with it and in some cases, the packaging. Even when you have a prescription, still read that information (humans remember? we could make mistakes)
- Ask your doctor/ pharmacist: When in doubt ASK!!! if you have not understood, get back to your healthcare team for clarifications. Make the most of your community pharmacist. Some questions could include how, when, how long, side effects, affected by food/other drugs?
Taking charge of our health is a big deal and can get overwhelming sometimes. If you feel this way, contact your healthcare team to help you out, coming up with different ways to take your medications.
Take charge today, and take your medications as prescribed/instructed.
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About the Author
Njonguo Belinda is a pharmacy student and administrative assistant.
Her passion for creative and informative writing led her into the blogging world where she blogs about her favorite niche Health. She also serves as an editor and holds several leadership positions in various organisations.
Amazing… very rich… we turn to neglect small things like this.. thanks very much Belinda
Thank you Bel… Amazingly small things like this is what may cause damage to our system and we won’t realise but go ahead and blame village people.. Like you said taking it on time helps us minimise overdose and last week had a case like that she got her drugs at any time and we discussed about it and yesterday she was complaining of side effect and I think its as a result of taking her medication randomly.. Thank u bel