When Taking Medicine, Good Timing Makes a Difference
If you’re on daily medication, you know that you need to take it every day—but is there a best time to take it? Often, the answer is yes, depending on the type of medicine as well as your symptoms and preferences. In some cases, you may be able to time your daily dose to make the most of your body’s natural rhythms and cycles.
A Matter of Time
For instance, in healthy people, blood pressure naturally dips during sleep. This helps offset a surge in blood pressure that occurs upon awakening. But some people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease don’t experience nighttime dips. This may increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the morning.
Taking blood pressure medicine at bedtime often helps. But this strategy isn’t right for everyone. In fact, for some, it could make blood pressure fall too low. If you’re on blood pressure medicine, ask your doctor whether taking it close to bedtime is a good idea for you.
There’s also evidence that certain cholesterol-lowering statin drugs work better when taken in the evening. The same is true of some medicines used to treat peptic ulcers. But the best course of action varies, so discuss it with your doctor.
For any medicine, these are some key questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist:
Do I need to take the medicine at a specific time? To maximize benefits or minimize side effects, your health care provider may recommend taking your medicine at a particular time of day or with meals.
If I need two or more doses daily, how far apart should they be? Make sure you know when to schedule each dose.
Set an alarm on your phone or watch so you take your medicine at the right time. Be consistent. Eventually, it will become part of your daily routine.