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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Dec;56(6):588-99.

Pulmonary drug delivery. Part I: physiological factors affecting therapeutic effectiveness of aerosolized medications.

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Department of Medicine at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


As the end organ for the treatment of local diseases or as the route of administration for systemic therapies, the lung is a very attractive target for drug delivery. It provides direct access to disease in the treatment of respiratory diseases, while providing an enormous surface area and a relatively low enzymatic, controlled environment for systemic absorption of medications. As a major port of entry, the lung has evolved to prevent the invasion of unwanted airborne particles from entering into the body. Airway geometry, humidity, mucociliary clearance and alveolar macrophages play a vital role in maintaining the sterility of the lung and consequently are barriers to the therapeutic effectiveness of inhaled medications. In addition, a drug's efficacy may be affected by where in the respiratory tract it is deposited, its delivered dose and the disease it may be trying to treat.

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