People take different medications according to their situation. Whether you’re consuming drugs according to your doctor’s prescription or you purchase over-the-counter medicine, you must know how long it takes before their effects start to take place to give you an idea of how they work.

It will help to learn about your medication’s half-life to understand better what happens each time you take a pill, whether they work to combat ailments, serve as supplements, or more. Keep reading below to find out about drug half-life to know more about your medicine.

What is a Half-Life of a Medication?

A half-life of a medication pertains to the estimated time it takes for a medicine’s primary active ingredients to cut down by half once you digest it. It’s the amount of time that indicates when fifty percent of the drug you have to take will metabolize and leave your body for good.

When your body is breaking down your medication, the chemicals present engage with the chemistry in your brain. Say your doctor prescribed you to take 50 mg of diabetes pills every four hours. After two hours, you can expect that you only have 25 mg left in your system. Once the time is up, the medicine you took has exited your body completely.

Things That Impact a Half-Life of a Drug

Many factors can impact the half-life of a drug. Some come from the individual consuming the medication, while others originate from the medicine involved. The things you need to consider that come from yourself are your gender, ethnicity, age, weight, and height.

In addition, your blood flow, bodily functions, current diet, pre-existing health conditions, lifestyle habits, and presence of vices can also affect your medication half-life. Meanwhile, based on the particular medicine you consume, its formulation can play a big role in how long its half-life is.

How the drug you take enters and exits your body, which system it’s stored in, and if it combines with protein are also other notable factors that can affect the half-life of your medication. In general, drugs are manufactured to have short half-lives or long half-lives.

The Difference Between Short and Long Half-Life

A short half-life of some medication means that you can expect its effects to happen much faster. Similarly, the time it takes to leave your body will be quicker too, compared to drugs with a long half-life. Depending on your prescription or desire to feel the effect of the medicine you’re taking, you may need to consume drugs with a short half-life several times within the day.

On the other hand, medicine with a long half-life will take a while before its effects start to work. However, you can expect its results to stay longer than medication with a short half-life. Depending on the drug, it can remain in your system for days or weeks.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been consuming short half-life drugs for some time now and you’re required to stop, it will become challenging for you to live without them right away. You are likely to face more withdrawal symptoms compared to when you consume long half-life drugs.


It’s integral to know the drugs you consume; whether your doctor prescribes them, you buy them at a drugstore, or they are considered illegal. Being familiar with what you put inside your body prevents you from feeling surprised once you go through the potential side effects. Knowing what each of the medicine you take entails before you consume them improves your awareness and prevents you from accidentally increasing your dosage because you think it isn’t working.

Are you looking for a pharmacy in Edmonton for your needed medication? Walker Lake Pharmacy is a community pharmacy focused on providing quality healthcare to people in need. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment!