This review is devoted to pharmacological applications of principles of release from capsules to overcome the membrane barrier. Many of these principles were developed in the context of polymeric multilayer capsule membrane modulation, but they are also pertinent to liposomes, polymersomes, capsosomes, particles, emulsion-based carriers and other carriers. We look at these methods from the physical, chemical or biological driving mechanisms point of view. In addition to applicability for carriers in drug delivery, these release methods are significant for another area directly related to pharmacology-modulation of the permeability of the membranes and thus promoting the action of drugs. Emerging technologies, including ionic current monitoring through a lipid membrane on a nanopore, are also highlighted.