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.

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.


  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Liyanda,
    Thanks. Good advice if you’re taking Atripla, Tribuss or Odimune, or any med that contains efavirenz. You can find out more here. But other HIV meds don’t need to be taken like this. Sometimes they need to be taken with food. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor about taking your meds in the right way.

  2. Liyanda

    It’s best to take your meds in the evening, whatever side effects you will experience will be in your sleep. But we must always eat our supper at least 2 or 3 hours before the treatment and also avoid fatty foods in the evenings. This Was advised by my doctor and this is helping me.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Jackson,
    Are you taking Atripla? In some countries this has a different name such as Tribuss or Odimune. These meds work. But sometimes side effects can include feeling dizzy. Here’s more info on this. Can you talk to your doctor about changing to other meds that fit better with your night shifts?

  4. Jackson

    Hi I’m Jackson i usually take my meds at 9am and wake up around 3pm because i do work at night, sometimes i do wake up feeling dizzy, so I’m asking if this medical is going to work , because i don’t even see a change to my body, maybe to gain because it’s been now a 3years taking it?


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