I know, I’m not a doctor. And if you need medications you should be seeing someone with an MD or DO after their name. I do have a background in Neuroscience and I learned a lot of basic information on how our brain works, as well as medications. In my practice, I talk with people a lot about their medications, because I want to make sure they are taking them as prescribed so that they can get the most out of them.

Take Your Meds-The Half-life Explained

I’ve seen many people who take medications like BuSpar (or buspirone). Knowing that this medication has a short half-life (I’ll explain that in a minute) I ask them, “Do you take it two or three times a day?” Most admit to me that they take the dose all at once, saying that they take all their other medications at that time, they are worried they will forget later and also admitting that they don’t know why they have to take the medication twice each day.

Most people want their medications to work. And many doctors do stress the importance of taking medications as directed, but they often don’t have enough time or easy ways to explain this to patients. I know that when people understand how their medication works they are more likely to take it the way their doctor has prescribed and it’s more likely to work effectively for them, so when I know how a medication works I’ll explain that to my clients.

PillBrainWhy do I have to take BuSpar twice a day? Here’s why: the half-life of of BuSpar is 2-3 hours (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was short). What’s a half-life? It’s a word that describes the amount of time it takes for half the medication to leave your system. So that means that in 2-3 hours, only half of the BuSpar is left in your system, 6 hours only 75% of the original dose is left, and that’s generally not enough for it to work well. Many doctors prefer to prescribe BuSpar to be taken 3 times a day, but most people will admit they can’t manage to remember that. However, if you’re not taking your med twice each day as prescribed, it is totally out of your system before you take it again the next day and in the middle of the afternoon you may not feel great because most of the medication is already gone.

Now that you know why you need to take your med as prescribed, how are you going to remember? You’re at work doing ten different things in the middle of the day, you’re not going to remember to take it even if you somehow remembered to bring a dose with you in the morning rush to get to work. Well let’s make a plan so that it’s easier to remember to take.

Here are some tips:

  • Buy a pill case that attaches to your car keys or put it in your purse

  • Put a few doses in the pill case, maybe for the whole work week

  • Set an alarm on your cell phone titled “Doctor’s Orders” to remind you

  • Bring a water bottle with you to work, fill it up and use it to take your med

  • In the morning when you take your first dose, double check your pill case

This might be a pain at first. But after a week or two of taking your meds as prescribed you’ll likely feel a difference because the medication will be much more effective. If you’re not feeling that difference, it might be time to talk to the doc.