Prescription Meds and Time Zones

Oct 8th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Prescription Meds and Time Zones

Yes, I will ask my doctor. But until I see her, I wanted to get a sense of how one handles taking prescription medicine which one pretty much takes at the same time every day, on a daily basis. We'll be flying from LA to Melbourne, Australia, and I don't want to miss a dose (or get all confused) due to the length of the flight and the time zone changes.
Callaloo is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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Hello Callaloo,

A Google search on this topic brings up the American Hospitals' website that has advice on travelling with medication at

The website recommends travelling with a second wristwatch if that will help you to keep track of the time at home versus the time at your destination.

Although I haven't used them myself, I've seen those little clocks that show the time in a few different places in the world simultaneously. You may find it helpful to buy one like that.

If you look up a table of time zones around the world, you'll find that Melbourne is something like 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles. I personally find it difficult to figure out the time difference if I have to adjust for a big number like 17. It's easier to think of it as Melbourne being 7 hours behind Los Angeles, except that Melbourne already is on the next day of the week.

I hope I'm not making it even MORE confusing for you, but that's what works for me.

Another factor you need to take into consideration is the dates you'll be travelling, because the time difference expands and contracts by two hours when the two continents change from standard time to daylight savings time.

In the northern hemisphere summer, when Los Angeles is on daylight savings time, Melbourne, being in the southern hemisphere winter is on standard time.

In the southern hemisphere summer, Melbourne is on daylight savings time, and Los Angeles is on standard time.

So it helps to check how each place's time zone relates to Greenwhich Mean Time on a given date.

Let's suppose you'll be travelling on 1st December 2004 (just for argument's sake).

Los Angeles will be on Pacific Standard Time (GMT - 8 hours).

Melbourne will be on Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT + 11 hours).

Melbourne will be 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Another way of looking at it, as I intimated before, is that Melbourne is 5 hours behind of L.A., on the next day.

I don't know when you usually take your medication. Suppose you usually take it with breakfast, say around 7 am. Well that makes it a bit awkward, because it means you'll have to take it around midnight in Melbourne. I guess that's okay if you intend to be up till midnight every night. But I don't like staying up till midnight every night.

So when you're in Melbourne you could take the medication a bit earlier, say, 10 pm or 11 pm, which would be like taking it at 5 am or 6 am in L.A. -- not so very far out of synch with the time at which you normally take the meds in L.A.

Finding a matching time, once you're IN Melbourne isn't so difficult, as my calculation above has demonstrated. The tricky part is the flight over the Pacific. I don't even feel like getting into that. My brain is fried from this little bit of math that I've just gone through. I think the second wristwatch or the multi-location clock may just be a good idea for the flight.

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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Arghhhh! I wish Fodors Talk had an edit feature!

On 1st December 2004, Melbourne will be on Australian Eastern DAYLIGHT Time. But that is equivalent to GMT + 11 hours.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Oct 10th, 2004, 02:11 AM
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my method is simple..Keep a second watch, alarm clock, or cell phone on one time zome. Set the alarm to remind you. If it turns out you are taking pills in the middle of the night, keeping moving it back an hour a day.
lcuy is offline  
Oct 10th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for the advice. While I will check with my doc for definitive advice, I suspect that the practical tips you've suggested will be a great help as well. (We are off to Melbourne in January for the Australian Open, followed by a few days at Hayman and in Sydney. I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer.)
Callaloo is offline  
Oct 10th, 2004, 10:42 PM
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It will depend on the medication, so do ask your doctor.
mjs is offline  

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