Managing your medication during Ramadan
and drinking a lot of water too after breaking your fast is the backbone to your health if you are sick during Ramadan, and it’s up to your doctor only to decide that even to adjust it, cancel it or even add any modification to it during the whole day of Ramadan.
The golden rule for managing your medication during Ramadan here is when you are real sick the only responsible person for saying your are able to fast or not is your doctor, no body else can decide that, even it was you yourself. Your doctor is your basic source for all your medication. They will let you know whether fasting is appropriate and safe for you, and look at how they can support your wishes.
All Muslims are expected to observe the fasting as long as they are medically well enough. If someone is not too unwell, the Islamic Sharia allows for either partial fasting or for the person to abstain from fasting at all, and that for your own health.
Some medicines taken orally (by mouth)
During Ramadan, taking medicine orally is considered breaking the fast at once. If you’re taking regular medicines or nutritional supplements; and want to fast, we will go back to the golden rule; and speak to your doctor about your options in advance. Your doctor may be able to make other arrangements to suit your needs. For example, your doctor may be able to change your medicine so it works for a longer time or change the times that you take them. They are also best placed to tell you about any effects that this might have and if fasting is safe for you.
It’s not easy to apply one set of fixed guidelines to every person, medication or disease. In deciding how best to proceed, we need to understand a patient’s health beliefs with regard to their condition(s) and treatment, their religious beliefs, and the cultural context of how these are put into practice.
Opinions vary on what types of medicines break the fast. Things that are not considered to be food and drink aren’t considered to break the fast, for example injections, patches, ear-drops, creams, ointments, and eye drops are permitted by many people, although there are differences of opinion and understanding regarding inhalers and nose sprays. Oral tablets, capsules, or liquids are almost always considered to be breaking the fast. For guidance on specific medicines, speak to your doctor only.
The medicines being taken
With some medicines, it is very dangerous for people to stop taking them suddenly.
Other medicines with once-daily dosing can just be taken after Iftar; as though the patient were in a different time zone; and had shifted the dose timing appropriately. It is useful to reassure the patient that they can make these changes in order to maintain clinical effectiveness whilst observing their fasting duties. It may be possible to find some modified-release versions of medicines that can be prescribed to cover the Holy month of Ramadan or it may be necessary to switch to a totally different medicine temporarily, if appropriate.
For some medications, timing around food is very important. Whether this is to ensure correct absorption of the dose; or because the medicine has a direct action on metabolic processes like blood sugar levels; fasting would have an impact on this. Someone who needs insulin would need to consider very carefully if it is appropriate to fast.
The pharmacy team can make some recommendations for changes to dose timings; and sometimes even suggest an alternative medicine or; formulation (switching to slow-release tablets or another medicine that only needs to be taken once daily).
finally keep up in your mind that there are some challenges related to your health; and your medicines that mean not everyone can fast; but there are equally plenty of people who can fast; with no or minimal changes to their treatment; can fast in the same way as others with no medical conditions.