Physiology and Pharmacology of Biological Rhythms

Volume 125 of the series Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology pp 205-249

Progress in the Chronotherapy of Nocturnal Asthma

  • M. H. Smolensky
  • , G. E. D’Alonzo

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Bronchial asthma is a chronic airways disease. Symptoms include dyspnea, wheezy chest, cough, and fatigue. It is seldom a problem for those who suffer from the mild form of the disease. However, it is a significant and even life-threatening one for those prone to severe asthma. Asthma is characterized by persistent airways inflammation, airways hyperreactivity, and compromised pulmonary function (Martin 1993). All are reversible, at least to some extent, with medication and environmental control. Asthma severity varies between patients and even in the same patient over time. Most patients experience worsening of symptoms during the night; many experience symptoms only at night (Dethlefsen and Repges 1985; Turner-Warwick 1988). Successful asthma management must address the major features of the disease — airways inflammation and hyperreactivity, compromised pulmonary function, and temporal patterning.