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Seniors, Talk to Your Doctor About Drug Chronotherapy

Take with food. Don’t take this medication and operate heavy machinery. May cause dizziness.

Seniors everywhere have all heard and read these little notes on our prescription bottles, haven’t we? But those messages aren’t the only important ones – and maybe a little more information would be helpful.

Anyone who takes a variety of prescription medications every day knows that they have to abide by the “take one a day” but they don’t know that the timing – when to take that pill every day – may be a bit of important information as well. For instance, it is suggested that many of the statin medications be taken at bedtime. One of the reasons is because the production of cholesterol in the body is best affected during slumber hours.

Some drugs are just more effective or better tolerated if taken at a specific time during the day. The practice of timing medications to their greatest benefit is called drug chronotherapy. I first read about this in the AARP publication. But further investigation really brings home the point that timing can be a critical element in prescription drug use.

How often do seniors take medications at a certain time because it is simply most convenient or easiest to remember? At meals, when we rise or get ready for bed? We all do that, but it might not be the best practice because the body processes cycle through multiple natural rhythms. Not only does your circadian biological clock tick down when to rise and slumber, it also affects the biological processes inside the body such as hormone secretions, cell growth and metabolism.

If it makes sense to exercise at a certain time during the day because you feel better and are stronger, doesn’t it make sense to time medications to peak at the same time symptoms are at their worst?

Getting information about timing your medications is easy at Galloway Ridge retirement community. A few steps across campus from your retirement home is the Duke Primary Care Center where you can ask questions about your medications. A conversation with your doctor or pharmacist will also give you information about the specific medications you take.

Be sure you talk with your physician before you begin changing up all the times you take your meds. It just makes sense that if there is a good time to take meds, there have to be times when it would not be best.
Retirement is about feeling good and having time to enjoy life. Timing your medications may make it even better!