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Pharm Dev Technol. 2009;14(6):602-12. doi: 10.3109/10837450902922736.

Drug delivery technologies for chronotherapeutic applications.

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Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


It has been proven that the body follows a 24-hour cycle called a circadian rhythm. This cycle is coordinated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus and controls nearly all bodily functions including those related to drug delivery. Knowledge of the body's circadian rhythm leads to an improved understanding of diseases and their treatment, known as chronotherapy, such that synchronizing drug application in accordance with the natural rhythm of the body leads to improved disease management and a greater patient therapeutic outcome. Chronotherapeutic diseases include asthma, cardiovascular diseases, glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers. In order to treat these diseases numerous chronotherapeutic drug delivery systems have been developed, such that drug is released in the period when it is most needed. This review paper attempts to concisely explicate the role of circadian rhythms in various disease states and furthermore describes the various oral drug delivery technologies that have been employed for the treatment of chronotherapeutic diseases.

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