Useful information

Basic knowledge of Medicine ② Timing for taking medicine is important


When you are given medicine at a hospital, clinic or pharmacy, you are told “Please take after meals” or “Please take before meals”.
For most drugs, the timing for taking a dose is pre-determined.

The most frequent instruction is to “take after meals”.
If you are told “after meals”, please consider it to be “within 30 minutes after eating.” With food left in the stomach, stimulation to the mucous membranes of the stomach will ease, and since digestive activity is actively performing, absorption of the medicine will be accelerated.

Conversely, “before meals” is about 30 minutes before eating. If you have medications that work to promote the appetite, or medications that would not be absorbed if food is found in the stomach, they should be taken before meals.
By the way, if you are told “just before meals” it is literally just before meals. Take medicine right before the first bite. Typical examples are “α-glucosidase inhibitors” and “immediate-acting insulin secretagogues” used to prevent postprandial hyperglycemia.

What is hard to understand is “between meals”. It means between one meal and another. Please use “2 hours after a meal” as a guide. It is not meant to be “while eating (a meal)”.

In addition, there are things to be taken only at the time of symptoms such as pain, fever, nausea, etc., and bedtime medicine such as sleeping medicine which is taken at bedtime “(15 to 30 minutes before sleeping) The dosage of medication depends on the medicine, “How many times a day should you take it?” “How many hours in between dosages?”

In addition, there are medicines that tell you “time between doses” – it is decided not by “before meal”, or “after meals”, but “every 12 hours,” etc. This is because it is important to keep the concentration of medicine in the blood above a certain level.


The timing for taking medicine has its own proper significance in this manner. I want you take it at the correct time, but there may be times when you accidentally forget it. Haven’t you noticed that you’ve forgotten to take it sometimes and got worried?
In general, if you are closer to the time you are taking the next dose than the time you originally planned to take it, hold off and take it at the next time. However, depending on the medicine, there are things that require more care, so it is best to keep the proper timing.