International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 344–358 | Cite as

Timing is important in medication administration: a timely review of chronotherapy research

  • Gagandeep KaurEmail author
  • Craig Phillips
  • Keith Wong
  • Bandana Saini
Review Article


Background Chronotherapy involves altering the timing of medication administration to improve the overall control of a disease and to minimise treatment side-effects, and is an emerging concept in the field of therapeutics. Aim The aim of this review is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the recent literature in order to identify and evaluate the evidence base for drug chronotherapy. Method A literature search was conducted in three databases (Medline, Embase, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts) using the search terms “Chronotherapy”, “Chronopharmacology”, “Chronopharmacokinetics”, “Chronopharmacodynamics”, “Chronoefficacy”, “Chronoformulation”, “Morning and Evening”, “Morning and Bedtime” and their combinations. The selection criteria for the inclusion of articles in the review included currency (years 2008–Aug 2011), publication in English language, studies done in Humans and non-review articles that pertained to ‘drug’ therapy. Results Our search revealed a total of 192 journal articles, of which 41 articles were selected for review. The specific hypothesis for the effectiveness of chronotherapy that was tested in these 41 studies was chronoeffectiveness (n = 34), followed by chronopharmacokinetics (n = 5), chronomodulation (n = 3) and chronopharmacodynamics (n = 2). The findings from two-thirds (n = 27) of the reviewed studies, support the notion of chronotherapy. Conclusion The review presents the scope of chronotherapy in drug utilization. We believe that the knowledge of chronotherapy is growing and the current research for chronotherapy is promisingly in the conceptualization or early experimental phase. Going forward, chronotherapy studies should also explore genetic, gender and age related differences. Preliminary screening of new drugs for chronotherapeutic potential may be a way of enhancing quality use of medicines.


Chronoeffectiveness Chronomodulation Chronopharmacodynamics Chronopharmacokinetics Chronotherapy Drug therapy 



We would like to acknowledge the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research for providing infrastructure support.



Conflicts of interest

Authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gagandeep Kaur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Craig Phillips
    • 2
  • Keith Wong
    • 2
  • Bandana Saini
    • 3
  1. 1.Room S114, Pharmacy and Bank Building A15, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.Woolcock Institute of Medical ResearchCamperdownAustralia
  3. 3.Room S303, Pharmacy and Bank Building A15, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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