Missing a Dose of Medication


I am speaking purely from my own experiences as someone with bipolar 1 with psychotic features and my experiences alone on missing a dose of medication from time to time. I am not a medical doctor nor am I a nurse practitioner or pharmacist.

The Results of Missing a Dose of Medication

When I first began taking psychotropic medications, I was scared to death as to what might happen if I began missing a dose of medication. I knew how I was completely without medicine and I also knew how I was on medicine but not quite stable. One frightened me and the other made me antsy. My doctors were still trying to find just the right cocktail for me and my body chemistry nine years later.

When I finally realized I had missed a dose of one of my medications, I would see if the present time was close to my next dosage. If the present time was too close to the next time I would take the medicine, I would wait until the next time came around. If I caught the missed dose just a few hours after I should have taken it, then I would go on and take it when I remembered.

It all depended upon the medicine I skipped that determined the side effects of the missed dose. I might feel unstable. For instance, I might feel real energized, talking fast, racing thoughts, hypersexual, or want to spend money. I might have tremors. At the same time, I might feel a deep dark depression come over me. The good thing is that some of the medicines I am on build up in my system and take several days to leave.

The Reality of Missing a Dose of Medication

I used to get pretty upset early on in my treatment once I had realized I had missed a dose of medication. I might have gotten distracted at lunch and forgotten that I had medicine to take. The years of experience and medicines have all taught me that I am not going to grow a third arm nor am I going to go off the deep end if I happen to miss a dose of medicine. If I dwelled on it too much, it became more of a psychological issue than a physical issue. And when that happened, things seemed to get out of control.

Even if you called your psychiatrist or your pharmacist and told them about the missed dose, they would probably tell you to wait until the next time to take the medication. They would reassure you that any side effect would not last long and would probably stop once you take your next dose.

Precautions against Missing a Dose of Medication

In order to keep from missing a dose of medication, I place precautions in my life to help me remember to take my medicine. I have an alarm going off on my smart phone every two hours from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. telling me that it is time to take another dose of medicine(s). (I do not have an alarm for the medicine I take at breakfast.) This has helped me tremendously to make sure I do not miss dosages throughout the day. I have so much medicine to take in one day, it is too much to rely on the brain to remember it all.

I also place my multi-pill organizers (I have three) in places where I will be reminded to take the medicine. For instance, I place my breakfast multi-pill organizer with my breakfast foods. The 8:00 p.m. alarm is for my bedtime medicines. I usually do not take it at that time in case the one pill makes me sleepy too early. What I do is I place this multi-pill organizer next to my charger and purse when the alarm goes off. Most of the time, the last thing I do before I go upstairs to go to bed is put my cell phone on the charger. This way I can see the organizer and take the medicine before I go to bed.


As I have improved with my treatment, I now firmly believe that my medications are one of the key pieces to my survival as someone with bipolar. However, I do not get the sinking feeling that I used to get when I realized I did not take my last Lithium capsule or Topamax tablet at the end of the day.

I believe the key to avoiding missing a dose of medication is to have a schedule and a plan in place. Once you have this plan set up, you can use smart phones, your Outlook calendar, a friend or family member, or simply just your pill organizer to help you remember to take your meds. Make it your plan so you are more apt to achieve success.

More Information no Missing a Dose of Medicine


Pill Organizers