For some people taking antidepressants, drinking their medication is almost second nature—so much so that it’s almost impossible to forget! Meanwhile, some others just naturally struggle with remembering when to take their medication.
However, both types of people will miss an antidepressant at some point in their lives—and it might seem like the worst thing to happen. People who have depressive symptoms greatly rely on the stabilizing benefits of their antidepressants, so forgetting to take one can definitely send someone into a panic.
Apart from using a medication log app, there are some steps one can take to lessen the worry and adverse effects of missing a dose.
How to Address a Missed Antidepressant
After forgetting to take your antidepressant for today, you may have several questions running through your mind, such as:
- Is it safe to take the late dosage now, or should I wait until the morning?
- How many antidepressants should I take the next day to make up for the missed dose?
- What happens now that I’ve forgotten my medicine?
Not all antidepressants are the same, and the same type may affect one person differently compared to the next. You may experience the inability to sleep due to missing an antidepressant one day while someone you know may not feel anything at all and carry on functioning as normal. Getting a more definitive answer will depend on your doctor, who will know what steps to take if you miss your medication.
Some medications will come with instructions for missed doses, where it will often be acceptable to take the medication late unless it comes too close to the next dose. If you missed taking it in the morning and realized late in the evening, then the right step would be to wait until the next day. Setting up a medicine tracker will ensure that you don’t miss a second dose.
Your doctor will answer whether or not you should take another dose the next day to compensate for the one you missed. In some cases, doubling up on your dosage without the need for a gradual increase can have adverse effects, so taking the medication as scheduled (taking one dose) is the appropriate step.
How Will a Missed Dose Affect Your Functioning?
How your body will react to missing an antidepressant will depend on three things: your dosage, the type of medicine you’re taking, and how your body processes that medication.
Antidepressants like sertraline (brand name Zoloft) have a half-life of 26 hours, which refers to the amount of time it will take for your body to process and eliminate half of that dose. It will take another 26 hours for a quarter to be eliminated from the body, then an eighth, and so on. If you were scheduled to take your sertraline on Sunday with a dosage of 20mg, then by early Tuesday morning, only 10mg should be remaining in your system.
How quickly your medication takes effect will also come into play. Sertraline takes four to eight hours to peak in one’s body. By missing a dose, you’ll start to experience some of the effects of missing the medication due to a low level of the drug circulating in your system. Symptoms can range anywhere from nausea and headaches to muscle weakness and fatigue. This should go away in a relatively short amount of time once your next dose has taken effect.
While surviving a missed dose is definitely possible, it’s certainly not something you’ll want to repeat in the future. Preventing a missed dose and its adverse effects should be your top priority, and a medication tracker app can certainly help. Having a detailed procedure of what to do when you miss a dose on your phone will also make it easier in the event that it happens again. It’s important to remember that while you may feel horrid in between doses, this is temporary and can be resolved quickly.
Here at My Medication Log, we offer medication management systems that help patients and caregivers maintain their medication calendars digitally. Remembering, storing, and sharing your medication status and history has never been easier. Download our app today!