Medications should be taken regularly to make sure that you have an effective amount of drug in your body at all times. When medications are not taken regularly, the level of drug in the blood can become too low to effectively stop the virus from multiplying. This gives the virus a chance to mutate and become resistant to the effects of the drug.
Taking medications regularly means:
Taking your medications at the proper intervals during the day. Try to divide up your dosing times as evenly as possible throughout the day: for example, every 12 hours for a drug that needs to be taken twice a day, or every 8 hours for a drug that needs to be taken three times a day. Make up a schedule that fits into your daily routine, and try to take your medications within 1 hour of each scheduled time.
Taking all of your doses each day. It is virtually impossible for anyone to remember to take each and every medication dose properly. Missing an occasional dose is probably less of a concern than frequently missing doses or taking incorrect doses. If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the dose and resume your schedule. Do not double your next dose because this could cause side effects.
- Why take antiretrovirals?
- Why is it important to take medications regularly?
- Why do certain drugs have to be taken with food and others taken on an empty stomach?
- What if you have side effects?
- Should you lower your drug dose if you are having side effects?
- Is it safe to take antiretrovirals with other medications?
- Is it safe to use alcohol or recreational drugs while you are on antiretroviral therapy?
- Why should medications be stored under specific conditions?
- What are some suggestions and tips to help make taking medications easier?
- Who should you tell if you are having problems?
- How can you get support and encouragement?