When your doctor prescribes a new medication, you may get lost in a list of potential side effects and dosing information, missing out on a key piece of information about each medication you take. Knowing what time of the day you should take your medication is just as important as knowing how much of it you should take. Your body operates on a rhythmic cycle, which means that various medications can have differing effects depending on when you take them. Below you’ll see some commonly prescribed daily medications along with the right time of day to take them, so you can ensure you’re seeing the best results from your treatment.
As you start to take any depression medication, you may notice that you tend to feel more energetic and wakeful—particularly if you are taking an SSRI. Because of this side effect, it’s ideal to take an antidepressant when you wake up, rather than before bedtime.
Most ADHD medications are stimulants, which means that they can easily keep you up at night if you take them too late in the day. Make a habit of taking your ADHD medication right when you wake up, so you can start your morning focused and ready to take on anything the day might throw at you.
If you take a daily acid-reducing medication to manage acid reflux, then you are best off taking it when your stomach is producing the most acid. That’s going to be in the evening until about midnight, since your body is preparing to digest dinner—likely your largest meal of the day. Taking your medication before dinner will be ideal for keeping acid production under control. If you find yourself taking over-the-counter heartburn medications daily or on a near-daily basis, then you should talk to your doctor about alternatives. These over-the-counter medications are ideal for quick relief of occasional heartburn, but they aren’t meant to be taken daily.
Seasonal allergy sufferers will recognize that allergies tend to worsen at night and feel the worst in the morning, when pollen counts are highest. Therefore, it might seem logical to take a 24-hour allergy medication in the morning. However, these medications take about 12 hours to hit their peak, so they are really best taken at night or in the early evening.
Your liver will produce the most cholesterol after midnight, which means that cholesterol-lowering statins will be best taken just before bed. However, it is just as important to make lifestyle changes while taking these medications to see lasting improvement in LDL cholesterol levels.
Unfortunately, damage from osteoporosis is irreversible. So, the best thing you can do is continue taking medication and building muscle mass to reduce the progression of bone loss. But, medications for osteoporosis aren’t easily absorbed into the body. Therefore, they are best taken in the morning before breakfast, when you have a completely empty stomach.
Blood Pressure Medication
The right time for blood pressure medication will depend on which medication you take. If you are using an ACE inhibitor or ARB, you should take your medication just before bedtime. If your doctor has prescribed diuretics to help with high blood pressure, take these in the morning to prevent frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Daily Asthma Medications
It’s obvious when you need to use a fast-acting inhaler, but daily asthma medications may leave you wondering when you should use them. If you use an oral asthma medication, take it in the early afternoon. For inhaled steroids, wait until later in the afternoon. This reduces the risk of asthma attacks while you are sleeping, which is when asthma symptoms tend to be their worst.
Medication management is an essential component of your healthcare, but it’s something that many patients overlook. For answers to questions about any medication you’re currently taking, consult a board-certified medical provider through MeMD. We are here for you day and night.