How to take a prescription that says ‘Three times a day’? 

How to take a prescription that says ‘Three times a day’? 

You can take a prescription that’s supposed to be taken three times a day in two ways – You can either take it at 8-hour intervals or you can evenly divide the dose during the hours you’re awake, whichever suits you best (1). 

However, some meds are supposed to be taken with 8-hour gaps between the doses. Although it is generally mentioned to take every 8 hours, it could also be written as ‘three times a day’. (1)

In such cases where you’re confused about your prescription, always ask your doctor or pharmacist to eliminate any confusion. Meds are supposed to be taken properly and you should read your prescription right when you receive it. 

Gather all the questions in your head and ask your pharmacist right away. This way you’ll come home with a full understanding of your medication, the proper way to use it, and all of the expected side effects. 

The importance of understanding your prescription properly

Understanding your prescription properly is of utmost importance to ensure you take your medication safely and effectively. (2)

When your healthcare provider prescribes a medication, they carefully determine the dosage, frequency, and duration based on your specific health condition and needs. 

It’s crucial to read and comprehend the prescription label and any accompanying instructions, as they provide essential information about how and when to take the medication.

Misinterpreting or neglecting the prescription details can lead to serious consequences. Taking the wrong dosage or frequency may result in ineffective treatment, reduced benefits, or even potential harm to your health. 

On the other hand, adhering to the correct instructions can improve the medication’s effectiveness, enhance your recovery, and minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Final words

To sum up,  a prescription that says ‘Three times a day’ can be divided into 8-hour intervals, which is one of the most common ways to take it. However, it can be taken differently if your doctor has suggested an appropriate idea based on your needs. 

If you have any doubts or confusion about your prescription, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can provide valuable guidance, address your concerns, and ensure you have a clear understanding of how to take your medication properly. 

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Nigam R, Loveday BJ, Grainger SL, Maxton DG. Three times daily or 8-hourly. J R Soc Med. 1986 Jan;79(1):15-6. doi: 10.1177/014107688607900105. PMID: 3944813; PMCID: PMC1290138. Available from:


Fletcher SW, Fletcher RH, Thomas DC, Hamann C. Patients’ understanding of prescribed drugs. J Community Health. 1979 Spring;4(3):183-9. doi: 10.1007/BF01322963. PMID: 457923. Available from: