Medications in Space: In Search of a Pharmacologist’s Guide to the Galaxy

Sara Eyal*, Hartmut Derendorf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Medications have been used during space missions for more than half a century, yet our understanding of the effects of spaceflight on drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is poor. The space environment induces time-dependent alterations in human physiology that include fluid shifts, cardiovascular deconditioning, bone and muscle density loss, and impaired immunity. This review presents the current knowledge on the physiological effects of spaceflight that can translate into altered drug disposition and activity and eventually to inadequate treatment. It describes findings from studies in astronauts along with mechanistic studies in animal models and in vitro systems. Future missions into deeper space and the emergence of commercial spaceflight will require a more detailed understanding of space pharmacology to optimize treatment in astronauts and space travelers.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number148
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • international space station
  • microgravity
  • pharmacodynamics
  • pharmacokinetics
  • spaceflight


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