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Answers to Common Medication-Related Questions

Ask an ExactCare Pharmacist

Everyone has questions from time to time about their medications. Your pharmacist is a great resource to help answer these types of questions! Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team. They have extensive education about medications, how they interact with one another, and how they can support your health. Here, we provide some answers to common medication-related questions featuring one of ExactCare’s own clinical pharmacists, Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS.


Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS

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Why do I have to take my medications at a certain time of day?

You may know the amount of a certain medication you need to take, but do you understand when in the day you should take it?

To make sure your medication is giving you the maximum benefits, it’s important to take them as instructed by your doctor. That means you may have specific times of the day you need to take your medication.

Why specific timing can make medication work better

Your body responds to some medication differently when you take it at a certain time of the day. There are a few factors that can affect this.

Here are some common reasons you might have to take a medication at a certain time:

  • Timing can help you manage some side effects you may experience
  • The strength of your medication can be affected when taken with food or drinks
  • It can help prevent interactions with other medications you may be taking
  • Medications for specific conditions work better at specific times

Remember, there may be general guidelines for how and when to take medications, but each drug should be tailored to your individual needs. This is why it is most important to follow your doctor’s instructions. We strongly recommend you follow your doctor’s dosing instructions for both prescription and non-prescription medications.

Make sure your doctor knows about all current medications you are taking, whether they are prescriptions or over-the-counter. This enables them to come up with a drug schedule that is most beneficial for you.

Medication taken on an empty stomach

Certain foods and drinks can disrupt your medication from fully absorbing in your body. If certain medications are taken with food, your body may not get the full benefits they are supposed to provide.

An example of this is a medication called levothyroxine. This medication is given to patients with a condition called hypothyroidism, or someone who does not get enough thyroid hormones.

Patients are generally told to take this on an empty stomach in the morning. Commonly 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast.

Food can decrease how much levothyroxine is absorbed.

* If your doctor has you taking levothyroxine at a different scheduled time, it may not be necessary to change your routine. Before changing your routine, always speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Some other common medications to take on an empty stomach are:

  • Prilosec (omeprazole)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Protonix (pantoprazole)
  • Fosamax (alendronate)
  • Boniva (ibandronate)

Medication taken in the morning

Some medication is best to take in the morning. This can help make symptoms more manageable for you.

An example of this is Furosemide, a medication that is used to treat excess water retention. Because it helps your body get rid of extra water, it causes your kidneys to make more urine, causing frequent urination.

Taking it in the morning allows it to work during the day. It may prevent you from waking up during the night from having to go to the bathroom.

Some other common medications taken in the morning due to their side effects are:

  • Aldactone (spironolactone)
  • Bumex (bumetanide)
  • Demadex (torsemide)
  • Zaroxolyn (metolazone)
  • Combination medications that contain hydrochlorothiazide

Medication taken before bed

If a medication is known to cause dizziness or drowsiness, it may be recommended to take it right before bed or at bedtime. This will help you avoid experiencing these symptoms during the day.

Other medications that are supposed to be taken at bedtime are sleeping aids that help you get a restful night of sleep. Some common examples of these include:

  • Melatonin
  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)
  • Restoril (temazepam)

It is important to note that your doctor may have you take some of these listed medications on a different schedule if it is more helpful for you and your specific needs. This could depend on other medications you take or monitored lab results.

Are you unsure of when to take your medication?

You should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist to determine the best way to take your medications.

If you are an ExactCare patient and have questions about your medication, give us a call at 1-877-355-7225. Our pharmacists are here to help!

Information featured on the ExactCare website, including the Ask a Pharmacist page, should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding your personal health situation. If ExactCare is your pharmacy, call us directly to talk to your pharmacist: 1-877-355-7225


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