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April 17, 1996

Time of Day Medicine Dose Is Taken May Boost Its Efficacy, Cut Toxicity

Author Affiliations

JAMA contributor

JAMA. 1996;275(15):1143-1144. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530390007002

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WHEN A MEDICINE is given is as important as what medicine is given, according to speakers at an American Medical Association-sponsored media briefing, "Chronotherapeutics: Synchronizing Drug Therapies With Body Rhythms."

The tenets of chronobiology—the study of biological rhythms—are still unfamiliar to most physicians, a recent Gallup poll shows. Chronobiologists say that predictable variations in bodily functions during the day, week, month, and year alter severity of disease symptoms, results of diagnostic tests, and effects of drugs and other therapy.

Growing evidence that timed dosing substantially improves treatment outcomes will bring chronobiology into mainstream medical practice, speakers at the press briefing predicted. The 1-day session, held in New York City and funded by an educational grant from the Skokie, Ill—based pharmaceutical firm Searle, attracted more than 60 print and broadcast journalists.

Behavioral and Circadian Rhythms  In a Canadian study, for example, 118 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission took a