Why is it important to take my medicine on time?

By Amon NSENGIMANA
On 27 October 2020 at 08:48

You might have heard someone being told to take his/her medication just morning, noon and evening, or maybe you have been told so? Either way, what did that mean to you precisely? You might have asked yourself, when is the morning or the evening precisely?

We people can interpret morning differently; there are those who may consider it as the time at which they wake up yet people wake up at different hours.

Similarly, evening can be interpreted differently; some people may think it’s the time they go to bed or time they go to dinner which might vary along the week days or vary between people. All in all ,it’s not only the amount of medications to take that matters but also how often to take them is vital to maximizing the therapeutic effectiveness.

Consideration must always be given to the actual time of administration so that a sufficient period occurs between doses.

For some medicines it doesn’t matter what time you take them. But for others, the Pharmacist will recommend to take them at the same time each day. Medications taken regularly ensure that you have an effective amount of drug in your body at all times.

Though they are meant to improve our health, medications can harm us when not properly taken. When they are not taken regularly, the level of drug in the blood can become either too low to be effective or too high and damages the body organs like kidney or liver.

For each drug to reach to the unhealthy part of the body; it is first absorbed into the blood. The blood then distributes the drug through the body. Each drug has a maximum level of concentration in the blood that when it goes beyond it becomes no longer beneficial but rather toxic to the body.

The moment you start taking your medication, its level of concentration in the blood raises and later falls down to its minimum level as the body breaks down the active ingredients and eliminates the waste from the body.

That minimum level is called minimum effective concentration, below which the drug becomes not effective but rather the body becomes used to the medication and consequently in the future use of the same drug, the drug doesn’t bring the same benefits or effects as before.

Therefore, taking your next dose on time helps to ensure that the already reached drug in the blood stays above the lowest useful level/minimum effective concentration.

Taking a dose too soon could lead to drug levels that are too high, whereas waiting too long between doses could lower the amount of drug in your body and keep it from working properly.

Healthcare providers should make it clear on how many hours apart are between doses so that side effects can be minimized. The routine of telling patients to take their medication in the morning, noon, and in the evening, leaves the ambiguity and may cause other issues as it is not clear at what exact time is in the morning or the evening.

When your healthcare providers didn’t clarify your dosing intervals, it is simple to calculate but people need to make sure the schedule is according to their daily routine. For instance, medications that are to be taken three times a day are to be taken every eight hours.

They are not to be taken morning, noon and evening as most of us are led to believe. To know how to calculate it, you simply take 24 hours and divide by the number of times your medication ought to be taken per day. You will find how many hours should be between doses or dosing intervals.

Author:Amon NSENGIMANA.
Registered Pharmacist


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