What’s The Best Time of Day to Take Medications?

Many biological processes that occur in our body, such as hormone secretion, blood pressure, or cholesterol production, among others, follow a circadian rhythm. Due to this, adapting the time you take certain medications to these rhythms will allow them to be more effective.
What’s The Best Time of Day to Take Medications?

Last update: 04 March, 2021

What’s the best time of day to take medications? Before or after eating? In the morning or at night?

Many people ask themselves these and other questions when they’re taking medications.

While it’s true that some are more effective when taken at a specific time of day, or when taken with or without food, others should be scheduled according to the timing of meals. Therefore, the best time to take medications depends on the type of drug you’re taking.

Thus, when you’re going to take medications, you should keep two things in mind: practicality and the circadian rhythm, which is the cyclical repetition of processes in the interval of a day or 24 hours.

Why does dosing time matter?

Many biological processes that occur in our body, such as hormone secretion, blood pressure, or cholesterol production, among others, follow a circadian rhythm. Due to this, adapting the time you take certain medications to these rhythms will allow them to be more effective.

Below, we’ll talk about some of the medications that you must take at certain times.

Diuretics

These drugs, such as furosemide, sold under the brand name Lasix, among others, increase the production of urine. Their effects usually appear between one and three hours after taking them.

For convenience, you should take them in the morning. This way, you’ll eliminate fluids throughout the day and won’t interrupt your night’s rest.

Thyroid hormones: The best time of day to take medications

The presence of foods greatly affects the absorption of drugs that treat thyroid conditions, such as levothyroxine. Also, these drugs have a narrow therapeutic range. This means that small dosage variations cause significant changes in their effects.

For this reason, experts recommend taking them in the morning, half an hour before breakfast. If you want to take it at another time of the day, you should do it after a four-hour fast.

Bisphosphonates

These drugs treat osteoporosis. Alendronate and ibandronate are two examples.

The presence of food affects the absorption of these drugs. For this reason, to ensure good absorption, you should take them at least half an hour before breakfast.

The best time of day to take medications for calcium

A bone.

Calcium is part of our bones. It’s a parathyroid hormone (PTH) that stimulates osteoclast proliferation. They’re responsible for bone resorption or loss of calcium from the bones.

PTH levels are lowest at night. Therefore, bone degradation decreases, and calcium incorporation is favored. Thus, the best time to take calcium supplements is at night.

Statins

The liver produces more cholesterol at night and the least cholesterol in the morning and early afternoon.

Statins are drugs that regulate cholesterol levels. They do this by inhibiting the enzyme HMG CoA-reductase, which plays a role in cholesterol synthesis.

Depending on how long they remain active, that is, whether they have a short or long half-life, you should take them at a specific time.

You should take short-acting statins, including simvastatin, lovastatin, or fluvastatin, in the evening. However, you can take long-acting statins such as rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, or pravastatin, at any time of the day.

Insulin

A child measuring blood glucose levels.

Insulin is a drug that controls glucose levels. At midnight, it’s less effective at lowering blood sugar than if you take the same dose in the morning.

This is because, at noon, our fatty tissue is more sensitive to insulin action. For this reason, the time of day when the patient takes it also affects the dose.

This article may also interest you: Insulin Resistance: Find Out Why It’;s So Common

Asthma medications

The diameter of the bronchi changes throughout the day. People who suffer from severe asthma have up to a 60% reduced lung air intake at night.

Asthma worsens at night because the body produces more histamine, which is responsible for closing the airways, at around 4:00 A.M. Therefore, patients should take asthma medications at night.

The best time of day to take medications

In short, the more in tune a drug treatment is with the body’s natural biological cycles, the more effective it’ll be. Therefore, taking medications at the right time, according to your doctor’s instructions, will guarantee success.

Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about their consumption and avoid taking your own measures, as it could be counterproductive.

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