A controlled drug delivery system fabricated from a thermoresponsive polymer was designed to obtain a pulsatile release profile which was triggered by altering the temperature of the dissolution medium. Two stages of release behaviour were found: fast release for a swollen state and slow (yet significant and non-negligible) release for a collapsed state. Six cycles of pulsatile release between 4 degrees C and 40 degrees C were obtained. The dosage of drug (rhodamine B) released in these cycles could be controlled to deliver approximately equal doses by altering the release time in the swollen state. However, for the first cycle, the swollen release rate was found to be large, and the release time could not be made short enough to prevent a larger dose than desired being delivered. A model was developed based on Fick's law which describes pulsatile release mathematically for the first time, and diffusion coefficients at different temperatures (including temperatures corresponding to both the fully swollen and collapsed states) were estimated by fitting the experimental data with the theoretical release profile given by this model. The effect of temperature on the diffusion coefficient was studied and it was found that in the range of the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), the diffusion coefficient increased with decreasing temperature. The model predicts that the effective lifetime of the system lies in the approximate range of 1-42 h (95% of drug released), depending on how long the system was kept at low temperature (below the LCST). Therefore this system can be used to obtain a controllable pulsatile release profile for small molecule drugs thereby enabling optimum therapeutic effects. Crown Copyright (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.