The marvels of medical science today...
As a matter of rule, there are a number of physiological cycles
that regularly occur within the human body
. Some of these are immediately obvious, such as waking and sleeping patterns, menstruation, and the lub-dub
of the heart. Others, though, are less apparent to the casual observer. Chronotherapy
is the science of timing medical treatment to synchronize with these repetitive cycles, taking them into consideration when considering the time of day, and sometimes the amount, of medication to administer per dose. The majority of these treatments are researched with an eye towards the circadian cycle
, as it is the biological cycle with the most immediate ramifications.
While still a fairly young application of medicine, chronotherapy has nonetheless made some significant advances in dealing with asthma, arthritis, and cancer treatments among other fields. With chemically reconstructed drugs, fixed so that their effect takes place after several hours, asthma
sufferers can take a pill in the evening and avoid waking up short of breath at three in the morning. People with osteoarthritis
, who usually suffer the most pain at night, are instructed to take their pills later than those with rheumatoid arthritis
, who have the most pain in the mornings; this way, the harmful side-effects that normally accompany treatments including NSAID
s and corticosteroids
. Breast cancer surgeries have been found to be most successful (read: with less recurrance of tumors) in pre-menopausal
women when they are done in the week after ovulation; high levels of progesterone are believed to be the reason behind this.
Several other applications for chronotherapy exist, including but not limited to treatments for skin disorders, digestive dysfunctions (ulcer
s and acid reflux disease
), developing accurate insulin monitoring for diabetes
sufferers, and effective solutions for insomnia
. Most of the resources today are being applied towards the latter, as sleep disorders are becoming more common.
In sum? If your doctor tells you to take your medication at a certain time of the day, do it- he knows what he's talking about.