How Many Hours Apart Is Three Times a Day? The Right Time to Take Meds

Posted by Prescription Hope - See Editorial Guidelines (Last Updated On: Fri Jul 21 2023)

Prescription Hope - the right time to take medication

When you’re taking medications, it’s always important that you follow the correct dosage to ensure you’re taking enough – or not too much of your prescription. Dosages are often described in terms of how many per day.

For example, once a day, two times a day, or three times a day. It can often be tricky to work out exactly when you need to take medication like Zofran, Lyrica, and Neurontin (Gabapentin).

So here’s the quick answer then we’ll get into more detail…

How many hours apart is three times a day? When instructed by your doctor or pharmacist to take your medication three times a day, the recommended frequency is usually early morning, lunchtime, and early evening. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist as to any special instructions, such as taking meds with food or on an empty stomach.

In simple terms…

In general, “Take every 8 hours” generally means a single dose of
the prescribed medication should be taken 3 times a day

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How Many Hours Apart is Three Times a Day

Let’s look into this a little more closely, as this may lead you to wonder how to schedule your dosages and how to best spread out your meds equally over the course of a day. You may be wondering, how do I know I have to take my medication three times a day?

Do I have to get up at night to take my prescription? What happens if I’m in a different time zone? And perhaps – how can I best manage my medications, making sure I take them at the correct time?

Read on to find out the answer to these questions to help you discover how to take your medication prescribed three times a day…

medication time - three times a day

How Do I Know I Have to Take My Prescription Three Times a Day?

Pharmacists use a selection of abbreviations. These are to make patients aware of how many times a day (and other frequencies) are required to take their medication. taking medications at these times makes them more effective.

These abbreviations are Latin in origin. Sometimes the abbreviations are written with a ‘period’ in between each character in lower case. Sometimes they’re written in lowercase without the period. And other times in Capital letters. The Latin word for three times a day is ‘ter in die’. You may see this written in one of the below three ways.

  • t.i.d
  • tid
  • TID

This may lead you to wonder if there are any other ways in which you might be instructed to take your prescription three times a day. Read on for other ways that your doctor or pharmacist might require you to take meds three times a day.

Are There Other Ways Pharmacists May Specify Taking Your Medication 3 Times a Day?

how many hours apart is three times a day

Another couple of ways in which you may be given details of frequency on which to take your prescription are:

3×1 Tablet Daily

This can look a little confusing as you may wonder if you have to take 3 tablets at the same time. But this instruction requires you to space out your medication three times throughout the day.

Usually one in the morning, one at lunchtime, and another early evening.

If you are unsure as to how to take your prescription, make sure you check with your pharmacist and/or doctor.

Take Every 8 Hours

Tablets or medication that is described to be taken every 8 hours is generally a direction to take your tablets, or medicine 3 times a day.

One very important question many people wonder is if they have to wake up during the night to take their medicines. Especially if they have a prescription that states they have to take their meds three times a day. Let’s cover how you can best manage your sleeping times alongside taking your medication.

Do I Have to Take My Prescription During the Night?

Unless specified by your healthcare provider or pharmacist, it is not usually required to take your medications during the night. In general, your requirement is to spread out your tablets or medicine over a waking day period which is approx from 8 am to 9 pm.

A good general rule to follow is:

  • First dose – 9 am
  • Second dose – lunchtime (approx between 1 pm and 2 pm)
  • Third dose – early evening 6 pm

Of course, check with your doctor for any special requirements you may have concerning your prescription. Requirements such as ensuring you take your medication either a) with food or b) on an empty stomach.

times to take medication

The reason why your doctor would specify the timings of your meds to be at certain times centered around your mealtimes is that the effectiveness of some medications can be affected or you may experience a larger number of side effects.

A good example of this is antibiotics. Some antibiotics are best taken with food which means they are more easily and effectively absorbed into your bloodstream.

Or, some antibiotics may be required to be taken with a meal to ease any stomach issue side effects that may possibly occur.

If you are in any way unsure of how to take your meds with regard to food and mealtimes, make sure you get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist to clarify.

What about when you’re a patient in a hospital? Let’s take a closer look at how your three-times-a-day medication is scheduled throughout the day in a hospital environment.

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What Three Times a Day Means in a Hospital

When a patient is in the hospital and prescribed to take meds three times a day, there are regular times spaced out during the days in which the drugs are administered. They’re usually given at the below times

  • 9 am
  • 1 pm
  • 6 pm

When patients are in the hospital, taking meds often follows a routine. The routine should coincide with breakfast, lunch, and evening meals. Interestingly, the medication delivery is said to be ‘on time’ if taken either an hour before or an hour after those times.

2503900 – prescription medication – the label is fictitious and was created by the photographer

Traveling to a Different Country or Time Zone, How to Make Sure You Take Medication Three Times a Day

When you’re traveling to a different country with meds, or across time zones with larger time zone differences it can be difficult to understand when to take your medication. This can be especially awkward to manage the day you’re traveling to and from your chosen country. To keep your meds regularly spaced three times a day, the two main options are either:

  1. Switch to the time zone of the country you’re traveling to. For anything other than shorter trips this is probably the easiest option. So for example, if you take your meds at 9 am in the U.S take them at 9 am in the U.K
  2. Continue taking your prescription within your home time zone

NOTE: The main aim when rescheduling your three-times-a-day prescription across time zones is to not take more than you’ve been prescribed within any 24-hour period.

Taking Medication Three Times a Day – Tips

We’ve outlined a few tips below. These will help you schedule your three-times-a-day prescription dosage. Specifically, if you’re out of town or traveling.

  • Set your watch to your hometown time – If you choose to keep and take your medications set to your own home time, it’s a good idea to take a watch showing your hometown time. It’s easier and more simple to make sure you continue to take your meds at the time your body is used to.
  • Continue to take your pills as prescribed – If you’re required to take your tablets or medicines with food, make sure you keep a selection of small snacks available. Also, remember to take on an empty stomach if that‘s required.
  • Use a pill store box – Using a tablet or pill storage box can help you stay organized when traveling. The boxes have the days of the week printed on them. This helps you more easily work out when you have taken your meds
  • Set an alarm on your phone – Setting an alarm on your phone can help you remember to take your prescription when you’re traveling
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist – if you intend to travel for long periods or take a long vacation. They’ll be able to advise on what to do if you miss a dose accidentally for any reason.
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How Many Hours Apart is Three Times a Day – Conclusion

The overriding point here is to use common sense when taking medications. If you’re in any doubt, then contact your prescribing healthcare provider for some advice.

If you’re having trouble affording any of the medications you’ve been prescribed, visit our home page to learn more about Prescription Hope’s medication access service, compare the costs of your current prescriptions, and see how we can help obtain your medications at a cheaper price. Fill out an application today and start receiving Brand-Name prescription medications at your doorstep. Call us at 1-877-296-HOPE (4673) to speak to one of our representatives, we’re always happy to see how we can help.