Q and A


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.


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.

We are all human and there will be occasions when you forget your meds.

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, unless you are already close to the next dose as you do not need to double dose.

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

Some once daily drugs (including tenofovir DF, emtricitabine and efavirinz) stay in your body for long enough to cover being several hours late or to missing doses 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.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Prudence,

    How long have you been on meds for? And have you had any side effects?

    If your meds contain efavirenz, its recommended that you take them at night. This is because this can reduce possible side effects. However, when you take them is up to you. Its a case of trying out what works best for you.

    What’s important is that you take them.

  2. prudence

    I just want to know what will happen to me if a take ARVs in the morning. Because at night I forget to take them, or I take them after some 2 to 3 hours late.

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Adel,

    What meds are you taking? And what sort of times are you taking your meds? If its just a few hours either way of your normal time, then you’ll be ok. Please see question 4 here:


  4. Adel

    I’ve been taking ARV’s for 3 months now, most of the time I don’t stay on the normal routine of time. Am I in danger?

  5. Zanda

    Hi, I’m new taking my ARVs and sometimes I forget to take them. If I’m too late perhaps I don’t take them at all, and just do the right thing the next day. Is this OK?

  6. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Z.

    Its best not to skip altogether, but don’t take too many either. I’d say, skip the efavirenz because you’ve already had them, then start your normal regime in the morning.

  7. Z

    Hey everyone, I just want to ask about arvs. Is it ok if I mistakenly took wrong arvs because this morning I suppose to take Combivir only, instead, I took Combivir + Efavirenz. The problem with this is that the combination arvs are supposedly for my night meds (At 10pm) but somehow I confused and mistakenly took it at the morning! Given that I’ve took the same exact combination last night, should I skip it tonight and only take combivir to replace the missing dose for the morning or skip the whole medication process entirely for today to restart fresh tomorrow morning?

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