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Missed Medication – What To Do?

For many diabetes patients, taking their medications on schedule is a challenge. Some forget regularly, and others miss a dose here or there.

If you have diabetes, it is likely you take one or more different medications. If so, these medications will play an important role in your diabetes care. To get the most from your medications, know these 3 facts :

  1. the time(s) of day to take your medications
  2. how your medications work with the food you eat
  3. how your medications affect your blood glucose level.

Your doctor prescribes the diabetes medications you need to help your body control blood glucose properly and keep you healthy.

Person with diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care, and keep blood sugar levels from going too low or too high.

Missed Dose and Consequences

What happens if people don’t adhere to their medication schedules? The potential for severe consequences is tremendous.

In a 2004 study that appeared in Diabetes Care, researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who missed doses of their medications had a greater risk of being hospitalized.

The most likely immediate consequence of missing medicines for diabetes is a high blood sugar level. If the level is very high, it causes frequent and copious urination, thirst, and hunger.

Vomiting, dehydration, weakness, confusion and comatose can also be caused by high sugar levels. If the sugar level has been high for a while, the individual might experience weight loss.

So,It is very important to take your medicine as directed by your doctor.


Take your medications as prescribed. If you don’t, they may not have the desired effect.

Be honest with your doctor if you sometimes forget or skip doses. Otherwise, your doctor may think the medication isn’t working well for you.

He or she may then increase your dose or add another medication, making your “medication burden” even heavier.

But, if they know the true, your doctor may change your dosing schedule or switch you to a long-acting once-a-day form. The less often you need to take medications, the less likely you are to miss a dose.

So what you should do if you still missed your diabetes medication? You may use the following guidelines. Please note that these may not apply to all of the medications you take :

  • If you are supposed to take your diabetes medication once a day in the morning and forget to take it, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for the next dose. Just take at the next dose and do not double it up.
  • If you take your diabetes medication once in the morning and once at night and you forgot the morning dose,take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for the night dose. Take it at night as usual. Do not double the doses to catch up.
  • If you take your diabetes medication at each meal and forget to take your medication at a particular meal, wait until the next meal. Do not double the doses too.

If insulin is a part of your diabetes regimen, life is certain to get in the way at least once and then you are faced with what to do when you have accidentally skipped an insulin dose.

It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do not miss any doses of insulin.

Discuss specific instructions with your doctor now, in case you miss a dose of insulin in the future.

For patient that does self blood sugar monitoring, here are some solutions to this common problem.

  • Missed Insulin Dose : Once-a-day, intermediate or long-acting insulin

If you missed your once-a-day, intermediate or long-acting insulin dose, and you realize it within 4 hours, the full dose can still be taken. If it is more than 4 hours late, just leave the dose. Take it as usual at usual time. Do not double the dose.

  • Missed Insulin Dose : Twice-a-day, intermediate or long-acting insulin

If you missed your twice-a-day, intermediate or long-acting insulin dose, and it’s within 4 hours, you can take the full dose. If it’s more than 4 hours, skip that dose entirely.

  • Missed Insulin Dose : Mealtime dose of rapid-acting insulin

If you missed a mealtime dose of rapid-acting insulin and realized it within the hour, take your normal dose.

Remember, you can always speak to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions. It’s very important to take your diabetes pills and insulin injection regularly, even if you feel better.

Remembering Your Medications

There is a few way that can help you to remembering your medications :

  • Buy a pill organizer with a compartment for every day of the week. Load it up once a week. (Include any other pills you are taking regularly, such as pills to control cholesterol or blood pressure.)
  • Keep your pills where you can see them easily, for example, on your bedside table or near where you eat.
  • Ask a family member to remind you about your pills or injection times.
  • When traveling, put a note in your luggage reminding you to take the medications. Carry a spare prescription, in case you lose the medications. Be sure to locate a pharmacy near where you are staying in case you have a medication question or need to fill a prescription.
  • Fill prescriptions well before you run out of medicine, especially if you’ll be going on vacation or around the holidays.
  • If you have side effects, talk to your doctor. But don’t stop taking the medications without your doctor’s permission.

Testing your blood glucose more frequently during the day will help you to understand the effects of missing a dose or taking the wrong dose.


  1. Diabetes Medication, and the consequences of forgetting, My Wellness Centre;
  2. Medication for diabetes,ehealthMD;
  3. Taking many medication, American Diabetes Association;
  4. You and your diabetes medicine;;


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