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Pharm Res. 2007 Feb;24(2):361-9. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Influence of realistic inspiratory flow profiles on fine particle fractions of dry powder aerosol formulations.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Science Research Division, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK.



The purpose of the study was to determine how air flow profiles affect fine particle fractions (FPF) (<5 microm) from dry powder aerosol formulations and whether laser diffraction (LD) could be used to measure FPF of aerosols generated by variable flows.


Carrier-based formulations containing 1.5% w/w micronized salbutamol base blended with the 63-90 microm fraction of alpha-lactose monohydrate or sorbitol or maltose were aerosolised from a model glass device using either a constant flow rate or a predetermined flow profile. The FPFs of the same aerosolised particles were first measured by LD and then by a liquid impinger. Volunteer inhalation airflow profiles and 3-phase (acceleration, constant flow rate and deceleration) square wave airflow profiles were generated using the Electronic Lung and an Inhalation Profile Recorder. Similar experiments were conducted for a carrier-free formulation from the Bricanyl Turbohaler.


Salbutamol FPFs of all carrier-based formulations were found to increase by increasing the initial flow increase rate (FIR) from 200 to 600 l min(-1) s(-1) although they could be placed in an increasing order of maltose blend < sorbitol blend < lactose blend. A significant linear correlation was found between FPFs measured by LD and by inertial impaction (R (2) = 0.95, p < 0.01, ANOVA). For the Bricanyl Turbohaler, increasing FIR from 120 to 600 l min(-1) s(-1) for a constant peak flow rate (PFR) of 60 l min(-1) increased the mean Terbutaline FPF from 18.2% to 45.5%. For the volunteer inhalation profiles, a higher FIR tended to be associated with higher PFR, leading to a marked increase in drug FPF due to the combined effect of FIR and PFR.


Drug FPF from either carrier-free or carrier-based formulations is determined by both FIR and PFR. LD is a viable technique to measure the performance of dry powder aerosol formulations at realistic inspiratory flow profiles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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