Some Worst Consequences of Missing Doses of Medications

Whether it’s an infection, a flu or a genetic condition, compliance to treatment is one of the best ways to control an illness. However, a large number of people still forget to take their medicines on time. In fact, research suggests that around 30 to 50 percent of people suffering from chronic conditions fail to take their medicines on time.

This puts them at risk of several health consequences. Here are some of them:

Withdrawal symptoms

There are medications that need to be tapered off before you can discontinue them. Anti-depressants are a good example. As you take these medications, your body becomes used to them. They help keep the chemical processes inside your body stable so that you won’t experience changes in your mood and emotions.

As your body becomes dependent on them, skipping doses mean breaking your body’s stability. This results in withdrawal symptoms, like nausea, dizziness and even diarrhea.

Aside from anti-depressants, steroids also need to be tapered off and not stopped abruptly. This is to allow your body, specifically your adrenal glands, to resume their normal functioning. Tapering schedule will be dependent on your medical condition so be sure to talk to your doctor first about any plans of stopping.

Withdrawal symptoms related to steroids include abdominal pain, weakness and decreased appetite. It can also cause vomiting, nausea and weight loss.


Drug resistance is commonly experienced with antibacterial medications. It happens when you suddenly stop taking your medicines while the infection and the bacteria causing it haven’t been fully eradicated.

Since the bacteria are still in your body, they will be able to build a mechanism that can withstand the effect of your antibiotics. Once your infection recurs, your medication may not work anymore. You may be prescribed with a lot stronger antibiotic to get rid of the drug-resistant bacteria in your body.

In case you miss your dose of antibiotics, consider the time you last took it. If it is near your next dose, disregard the missed doses altogether. In case it’s still far from your next dose, take it as soon as you remember it. Taking a double dose of your antibiotics can do more harm to your body than missing one.

If you’re having troubles remembering your medications or if you take multiple medicines for your condition, it’s a good idea to invest in a smart pill dispenser such as the Hero Smart Appliance. This device can hold and dispense your pills on time. It can even send you or your caregiver an alert in case you miss a dose.

Worsening of medical condition

The primary reason why medicines are prescribed is to help facilitate healing. Failure to take the medication in the right dose and frequency can delay healing. In some cases, it can make the condition worse and even trigger other complications.

Medications for high blood pressure, for example, need to be taken religiously. If you fail to take the medications as prescribed and make your blood pressure stable, it can result in kidney and eye problems. The same is true with medications intended for diabetes.

Double dosing, in case you forgot to take your medication on time, is strongly discouraged when it comes to these drugs. Hypertensive drugs can cause extremely low blood pressure when taken in high amounts. Taking more than the recommended dose of anti-diabetic drug can result in low blood sugar. These two things are detrimental to your body, particularly your brain.

Breakthrough seizure

For people with epilepsy, taking anti-seizure drugs is important to avoid episodes of seizure. If you are prescribed to take one medication per day, the likelihood of experiencing breakthrough seizure is great. In case you are taking multiple doses per day, the chances of having an attack lessens.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you can skip doses just because you have multiple doses per day. Failure to take your medications several days in a row only defeats their purpose. If this sounds exactly like you, you should consider getting a medical home monitoring solution like Presence Pro Care. Seizures can be life threatening and you need a system that can watch over you in case nobody’s home with you.


There are tons of reasons why people miss their medications. Some of them find the pills or capsules too hard to swallow. For others, they miss taking their medicines because they are too expensive or their insurances don’t cover them. Other reasons include forgetfulness, difficulty getting the medicines from pharmacies and troubles accepting the condition.

No matter what your reason is, it’s important that you communicate it with your doctor. If the issue is the size of the pills, you can ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative drug. If you are finding your prescription too expensive, try consulting your physician about a cheaper medicine for your condition.


Andy Cho

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