What if I forget to take my pills?

They goes thataway...

Almost everyone will forget or be late at some time – and this will be fine. 

But there is a difference between an occasional missed dose and regularly forgetting on a daily or weekly basis.

  • Be strict with yourself to assess how adherent you are.
  • If your adherence is not good, you need more support. It is available but you will need to ask.

If you regularly take your HIV drugs late or miss doses completely, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about other options.

  • There may be an easier combination.
  • You need a regimen that you can follow everyday. This includes both during the weekend and in the different situations involved in life.
  • There are always things that can help improve adherence, whatever your lifestyle.

Taking days off treatment is a risky way to use HIV drugs.

If you realise you have missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember.  

BUT, if you only realise when you’re going to take your next dose, do not take a double dose.

I started treatment on a once-daily pill containing tenofovir, emtricitabine and efavirenz. I had nightmares the first night, but these went away. What I couldn’t get used to though was feeling dizzy a few hours after taking my pill.

Even though I took the pill at night, I could not sleep properly. Perhaps because of poor sleep I felt agitated during the day. Sometimes I need to work late into the night, but the dizziness after taking my pill would prevent me from doing so.

I continued for a few weeks, but was unhappy with the effect the pill was having on my life. So I switched the efavirenz to raltegravir.

My life quickly came back to normal. I am sleeping properly. No sweats, no tossing and turning, no insomnia, no weird dreams, no dizziness, no falling over when I go to the bathroom!

I am much happier, even though this means I take a twice daily treatment.

— Nathan, Cape Town.

Last updated: 1 October 2019.