• 4/30/2019
    HMC Drug Information Center Supporting Patients with Questions about Prescribed Medications and Fasting

    As Ramadan begins in less than one week, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is reminding patients who take daily medication and plan to fast to consult their physician before changing timing and dosage.

    During Ramadan, all adult Muslims who fast are required to refrain from taking any food, liquids or oral drugs between dawn and sunset. However, those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart and kidney diseases, as well as conditions like epilepsy, require daily medication to effectively manage their condition and prevent complications. If these individuals wish to fast, they are advised to consult their physician or pharmacist before making changes to their medication routine. 

    According to Dr. Moza Sulaiman Al Hail, Executive Director of Pharmacy at HMC, several studies have shown that patients often change the intake time and dosage of their medication without first seeking medical advice. “This behavior could alter the pharmacological properties of a drug and impact the effectiveness of the medication and the patient’s tolerance of the drug.” She went on to explain that unsupervised changes to medication timings can render a medicine useless and also cause serious health complications.

    During Ramadan, most patients who require daily medications are able to work with their healthcare team to safely make adjustments so that medicines can be taken between sunset and dawn. However, Dr. Al Hail urges patients to get medical advice before making any changes. 

    Dr. Al Hail added: “Your doctor and pharmacist can be really helpful in these circumstances. They can help you manage dose adjustments, such as switching to a once a day regimen, which works well for most antibiotics, or to a sustained release formula for certain antihypertensive medications,” she noted.

    Dr. Al Hail went on to urge all patients who are ill to be vigilant during Ramadan. “If sick patients do fast, they should do so under the medical supervision of their doctor, pharmacist, or another health professional familiar with their condition and medical history,” she said.

    She also cautioned the public to avoid excessive use of non-prescription pain medications and antacid drugs, particularly without first consulting a medical professional.

    Most religious scholars and healthcare practitioners agree that the following administration routes do not nullify fasting:

    - Eye and ear drops.
    - All substances absorbed into the body through the skin, such as creams, ointments, and medicated plasters.
    - Injections through the skin, muscle, joints, or veins, with the exception of intravenous feeding.
    - Oxygen and anesthetic gasses.
    - Nitroglycerin tablets placed under the tongue for the treatment of angina.
    - Mouthwashes or oral sprays provided nothing swallowed enters the stomach.
    Last year HMC’s Pharmacy Department established a Drug Information Center to answer questions about prescribed medications. The service is staffed by pharmacists and is open Sunday to Thursday, from 7am to 8pm and can be reached at 4026 0747.

    The Ministry of Public Health, HMC, and the Primary Health Care Corporation wish to remind members of the public about the Ramadan Health website and companion smartphone and tablet app. The Ramadan Health website is Qatar's first online resource devoted to health and wellness during the Holy Month. Visit the Ramadan Health website at www.hamad.qa/ramadanhealth, or download the app to your phone or tablet by searching for ‘Qatar Health’ (available for iOS and Android operating systems).