Polyelectrolyte capsules have recently been introduced as new microscopic vehicles which could have high potential in the biomedical field. In this critical review we give an introduction to the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique which is used to fabricate these polyelectrolyte capsules as well as to the different triggers that have been exploited to obtain drug release from these capsules. Furthermore, other types of triggered delivery systems are compared and critically discussed with regard to their clinical relevance. (171 references.).