What Is The Time Frame For A 'Maximum Daily Dose'?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses what exactly the time frame is when your prescription bottle states a maximum daily dose.

What Is The Time Frame For A 'Maximum Daily Dose'?
Jun 20, 2020

Brooder asked

I was prescribed 2mg Xanax for my severe anxiety and panic disorder, along with agoraphobia. I take 2mg in the morning and 2mg in the afternoon. What confuses me is that the directions say no more than 4mg in 24 hours. 

So, if I take 2mg at 6 am and 2mg at 2 pm, could I take the next doses at the same time the next day, since that's 24 hours?  I can't get ahold of my doctor or pharmacist.

At a glance

  • Some states require a prescription to say something to the extent of “Maximum of 4mg in 24 hours” or “Max daily dose of 2”
  • You should be able to safely take two tablets every calendar day, as long as the doses are separated.


Hi and thanks for writing in!

Every state has its own unique pharmacy laws. Some require the directions on the bottle to include a maximum daily dose that you can take, which seems to be the case in your state. When the bottle states that you can take a maximum of 4mg in 24 hours, they are saying the for every calendar day. Therefore, it should be safe for you to take two 2mg doses, as long as they are separated out appropriately.

If you take one dose today at 6 am and another dose at 2 pm, that is 8 hours of separation. It should be safe for you to take another dose tomorrow at 6 am.

Thanks again for your question and feel free to write us back.

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