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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Dec;104(6):1168-73.

An in vitro analysis of the output of budesonide from different nebulizers.

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Department of Child Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom.



Inhaled corticosteroids are increasingly used in the treatment of asthma, and many different nebulizers are available to aerosolize steroid medications. There are few comparative data on their ability to do so.


Our purpose was to determine the particle size and mass output of budesonide nebulizer suspension from different nebulizers.


In vitro measurement of drug particle size and total drug output from 3 nebulizers (the Pari LC Plus, the Pari LC Star, and the Medicaid Ventstream) was performed under simulated breathing conditions. Nebulizers were charged with 2 mL (500 microg) of budesonide suspension. A sinus pump was used to draw aerosol from the nebulizers onto a filter during simulated inspiration at tidal volumes of 150 and 600 mL, mimicking pediatric and adult use. Aerosol particle size was determined separately by inertial impaction.


The LC Plus nebulizer had the highest initial output rate and delivered the most budesonide at both breathing patterns. The maximal output rates of the Ventstream and LC Star nebulizers was half that of the LC Plus, but the LC Star nebulizer continued nebulization for longer and delivered twice as much budesonide as the Ventstream did. However, the Ventstream produced the smallest particles, mass median diameter 3.1 microm compared with 3.8 microm for the LC Star and 4.1 microm for the LC Plus.


This study has identified differences among the nebulizers that would not have been apparent with current standards for nebulizer assessment. Incorporation of breathing simulation in the study imitates patient use and allows effective nebulization times to be predicted. The results suggest that the nebulizers studied would deliver different masses of budesonide to the lungs and to the upper airway. This may have important consequences in determining the efficacy and side effect profile of budesonide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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