Sustained-release, extended-release, and other time-release formulations in neuropsychiatry

J Clin Psychiatry. 2015 Aug;76(8):e995-9. doi: 10.4088/JCP.15f10219.


Pills and capsules may release their contents within minutes of ingestion; these are immediate-release formulations. Pills and capsules may also release their contents after a time lag, or a little at a time, or in some other predetermined way; these are time-release formulations. Many drugs in psychiatry have been time-release formulated to reduce their local adverse effects in the gastrointestinal tract, to reduce adverse effects associated with peak blood levels, or to artificially extend their half-life. Time-release formulations are associated with the added advantages of convenience of dosing, improved compliance, and less fluctuation in blood levels across the course of the day. A disadvantage of time-release formulations is that they may be incompletely absorbed; this is a serious issue in patients with acute or chronic intestinal hurry disorders, such as gastroenteritis or irritable bowel syndrome. Time-release formulations may also be more expensive than immediate-release formulations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delayed-Action Preparations* / adverse effects
  • Delayed-Action Preparations* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychiatry / methods*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / administration & dosage*


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Psychotropic Drugs