What time of day is best to take diabetic medication?

The best time to take your diabetic medication will vary depending on the medicine you're taking. For example, among pills for diabetes, some are meant to be taken before a meal, some at the first bite of a meal and some with food. Some are taken twice a day while others might be taken three times daily. Insulin may be taken as injections a few times a day or given by pump as a steady dose throughout the day. You and your doctor need to choose not only the best medications for controlling your diabetes, but also the best times to take those medications.
William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
If your doctor didn’t give you any specific instructions, or if you are confused, look at the bottle and the info sheet from the pharmacy. There are a few meds that need to be taken at certain times for maximum effectiveness or for comfort. For instance, the diabetes drug metformin gives some people nausea when taken on an empty stomach, but rarely causes trouble when taken with meals; while the diabetes medication Starlix needs to be taken right before a meal to work right.

For the most part, however, most diabetes drugs have no special timing, so the best time to take them is whenever it will be easiest for you, or when you will be most likely to remember them.

Two other non-diabetes drugs that are common to those of us with diabetes are statins for lowering cholesterol and thyroid meds. Statins should be taken in the evening, as most cholesterol is produced by the liver when we sleep and taking the med at bedtime maximizes its effect. Thyroid meds should be taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, without any other pills.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.