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I'm not sure if I took my medication last night: do I risk a double-dose or risk not having the drug at all?

By June 21, 2009 - 2:04pm
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I have a few prescriptions that I take, and woke up this morning not knowing if I took the medication last night or not. My prescriptions aren't a big deal (for seasonal allergies), but then I started wondering: what about others who have medication for more serious conditions? Should they risk taking a second dose, or just skip it and resume their regular dose? I would assume this would happen frequently.

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EmpowHER Guest

I know about your dilemma, I ended up in the emergency room because I double dosed my medication. Unfortunately this is a big problem and happens all the time. Here is a product that helps http://memoryhelpmate.com good luck!

March 8, 2012 - 7:16pm
Expert HERWriter

hello there! Thank you so much for your question--I think it is an excellent one and one that probably most of us can relate to. I take thyroid medication and I wanted to share a tip with you that has worked for me. I set an alarm on my cell phone that goes off when it is time to take my next dose. I have been so busy with the website that it has been a real lifesaver for me. Best in health, Michelle

June 23, 2009 - 11:16pm

The medication that was being referred to in the original comment was allergy medication, but I did want to mention that there IS a medication that has explicit instructions on not only its important to "double-up", but HOW to double-up, and that are most birth control pills.

If you are unsure when and how to double the dose of any missed birth control pills, feel free to ask us (provide the name and dosage of your hormonal contraception), and we can help you find the answer.

June 23, 2009 - 7:52pm

Dear Free2bMe,

My suggestion is that if you forget to take a dose of medication by a few hours take the medication. If it's time for the next dose then skip it altogether (do not double up). If you are not sure, try counting your pills-- if that does not help you are likely better off by skipping the dose altogether. If it is a medication likely to cause withdrawal symptoms if not taken, then you will definitely know that you have skipped the dose (though most meds will not start to show withdrawal symptoms unless more than one dose is missed).

I definitely agree with Alison, investing in a weekly pill container is a great idea!

June 22, 2009 - 5:44am

It probably does happen frequently, and is likely the reason the "weekly pill holder" boxes were invented!

There are too many variables to provide a definitive answer, as many individuals take more than one medication at a time, and can have several health conditions. There can be side effects and consequences from not taking the medication (withdrawal symptoms), as well as taking too much of the medication (over-dose).

The best answer is to review the information provided with your specific prescription (patient information leaflet), and/or call your pharmacist (assuming s/he has a list of all the current medications you are taking).

Drugs have different "half-lives", which basically explains how long they stay in your system. Depending on the drug, if you miss a dose (or even just take it late), the drugs with the shortest "half life" can be eliminated from the body quickly, even within hours of the missed dose. When this occurs, withdrawal symptoms can be likely (especially with certain anti-anxiety medications).

As a general precaution: if you miss a dose, do not take a double dose to make it up. Read the patient information leaflet instead, search for it online (tell us the name of the drug, and we can help you find it), or call your local pharmacist or doctor's office instead.

Remember that it is important to keep one copy of the patient information leaflet (or, you can search for it online), as most of these informational leaflets contain instructions on "missing a dose".

And...be sure to invest (and use) a weekly pill holder container!

June 21, 2009 - 2:26pm
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