What should people do if they miss a dose of their medicine?

Samantha Owen, Principal Pharmacist Critical Evaluation and UKMi Medicines Q&A Lead, Southampton Medicines Advice Service, University Hospital of Southampton NHS Foundation TrustSource Southampton Medicines Advice Service, UKMiPublished

Sometimes patients forget to take their medicines at the normal time. This may cause a problem because missing a dose may make the medicine less effective, but taking doses too close together may increase the risk of side effects.

It is very difficult to give general guidance on what to do in these situations. Each situation needs to be looked at individually.

However, this Medicines Q&A offers some general guidance, which may help patients who occasionally forget or delay a dose. It does not apply to patients who frequently miss doses.

Update November 2020: this Q&A is in the process of being fully reviewed and updated. The general principles of information and advice remain current, but links in the document to further sources of advice and references may not be up to date.