Travel tips from Dr Handford: Managing medication across time zones

It can be difficult to remember to take your medication, even when you are at home in a regular routine. Travelling not only disrupts this routine, but crossing time zones can be even more unsettling. Here are some tips to try to continue taking your medication safely, even when you are coping with a change in time zone.

  • If you take more than one or two tablets, it may be worth investing in a tablet organiser box. This is a good way of ensuring you do not forget medicines throughout the day. Most chemists will sell these very cheaply.
  • If you take time dependent medication then it may be sensible to keep a watch or clock on ‘home time’ and continue to take your tablets at your normal time.
  • If you are travelling to a time zone more than 2 or 3 hours different, this may be more difficult. In this case, adjust your medicines to your new time zone, ensuring that you do not take more than you are prescribed for any 24 hour period. It is better to have a bigger gap between tablets, than a smaller one.
  • The main thing is to continue to take prescribed medicines as prescribed with meals or on an empty stomach – depending on how they are meant to be taken.
  • Missing one dose of ‘prevention’ tablets, like blood pressure tablets or statins, will not matter too much – but seek advice from your GP about other long term medications.
  • Contraceptive tablets have to be taken at the same time every day, with a small window of opportunity if you miss one. This varies depending on the type of pill you take. It is important to keep taking your contraceptive pill at the same time as you do at home – setting up an alarm reminder on your phone can help you to remember to do this.

Always consult your own doctor before travelling

These travel tips are intended to provide general information and do not replace a visit to your doctor. If you are planning a holiday you should consult your doctor to ensure that you are fit to travel and discuss any specific health requirements you may have.

 

 

 

 

About Dr Ruth Handford

 

 

Dr Ruth Handford is a GP with over 10 years’ experience of working in both hospital and primary care. She is particularly interested in caring for the elderly in the community, child health, and family planning. Ruth lives and works in a rural community, and is kept very busy by her job and young family.

 

 

 

 

Important Information: These travel tips are intended to provide general information and do not replace a visit to your doctor. If you are planning a holiday you should consult your doctor to ensure that you are fit to travel and discuss any specific health requirements you may have.

 

 

Travel Insurance for Medical Conditions

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