Ultrasound contrast agents are valuable in diagnostic ultrasound imaging, and they increasingly show potential for drug delivery. This review focuses on the acoustic behavior of flexible-coated microbubbles and rigid-coated microcapsules and their contribution to enhanced drug delivery. Phenomena relevant to drug delivery, such as non-spherical oscillations, shear stress, microstreaming, and jetting will be reviewed from both a theoretical and experimental perspective. Further, the two systems for drug delivery, co-administration and the microbubble as drug carrier system, are reviewed in relation to the microbubble behavior. Finally, future prospects are discussed that need to be addressed for ultrasound contrast agents to move from a pre-clinical tool into a clinical setting. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.