Forgetting to Take Medication  

QUESTION:

I often forget to take my blood pressure medication. I usually take it every morning, but if I don't remember until the evening, should I take it then or skip it and wait until the next morning?

Jennifer

DR. JACQUELINE HART:

The answer to this question depends on your particular history and on the medication that you are taking. It also depends on what time of day you realize that you have missed a dose. Questions that I would ask you (and that another physician or pharmacist would probably ask) include what medication do you take and what is the dose? Do you have any side effects from the medication? What are your usual blood pressure readings at different times of the day on the medication? Do you remember what your blood pressure readings used to be before you started the medication? What other medical problems do you have? What other medications, including supplements and non-prescription drugs, do you take?

From the wording of your particular question, it sounds as if you normally take your medication only one time per day. This means that your medication is probably long acting. In which case, if you realize early enough in the day (for example, by dinner time) that you have not taken the medication, then it is likely okay to take it. However, as I indicated above, it is important to discuss your particular situation with your doctor or pharmacist who can address the important factors that play into the decision about whether to take the medication late in the day or wait for your usual dose the next morning.

If you don't already have one, you may want to consider getting a drug-reminder kit. These are the plastic boxes with the days of the week (and sometimes even the time of day) on the cover so you know when to take your medication and whether you have taken it at the designated time. Keep this kit in a visible, convenient spot - like right where you brush your teeth each morning. If you tend to forget to take your medication frequently, you may want to ask a friend or loved one to remind you.

 

Dr. Hart is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and teaches lifestyle modification programs for people with heart disease. She is currently affiliated with the Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University. She is also a Senior Medical Editor at A.D.A.M., Inc. She holds an MD from the George Washington School of Medicine and an AB in psychology from Harvard-Radcliffe University. Dr. Hart completed her residency at Brown University in Primary Care Internal Medicine.

 

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Review Date: June 3, 2003

Reviewed By: Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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