Q and A

Question

Is it ok if I take my meds 15 or 30 mins late?

Do you have to take your arvs at exactly the same time each day? Will for example 30 mins (or even an hour) each way have any impact whatsoever on the suppression of the virus or cause resistance? I am worried as even though I take them every day some days it is 15 or 30 mins later or earlier than the previous day.

Answer

Thank you for your question.

It is sometimes difficult to take your meds at the exact same time everyday.

Even when starting, there is a window of about an hour either side of your target time when it is still fine to take them.

For example, if you want to take your meds every night at 10 pm, then any time between 9pm and 11pm will be fine.

Everyone has a few times when we forget our meds though.

The less this happens the better. But if it does happen once in a while then there is nothing to worry about. If you forget in the future, take them as soon as you remember. However, if this is already close to the next dose DO NOT take a double dose.

Once you get an undetectable viral load, especially if it has been undetectable for several years, you have more flexibility. This partly depends on which drugs you are using.

Some once daily drugs (including tenofovir DF, emtricitabine and efavirinz) have long half-lives. This means drug levels stay in your body for long enough to cover being several hours late or even missing a dose completely.

Several studies are looking at whether reduced dosing might be safe – for example by only taking ART for four days a week. We need bigger studies before we know if this is safe though.

Note: this question was updated in October 2016 from and original answer in April 2011.

175 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Zano,

    Being undetectable with viral load under 50 can protect your baby while breastfeeding. But is 200 copies just a blip? This is where your viral load goes above 50, to say 200, but then goes undetectable on the next test. You can ask at the clinic to have another viral load test to find out about it.

    You can ask the clinic to make sure you can continue breastfeeding. Are you able to get formula milk and clean water and bottles if you need to?

  2. Zano

    Please i want to find out if you are breastfeeding then yo viral load is above 200.should you stop breestfeed or continue?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Quadrille,

    What meds are you taking?

  4. Quadrille

    Can you take septrine in the morning while you are on ARV’s?

  5. Simon Collins

    Hi M – Septrin is a combination pill with two antibiotics. It is also called cotrimoxazole. These antibiotics provide good protections against several infections.

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