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Int J Pharm. 2006 Feb 17;309(1-2):51-9. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Effect of milling and sieving on functionality of dry powder inhalation products.

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Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, Department of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, Gutenbergstrasse 76, 24118 Kiel, Germany.


Alpha-lactose monohydrate is the standard excipient used as diluent or carrier in dry powder inhaler (DPI) formulations. Earlier studies have already revealed that raw materials for the production of inhalation grade lactose have to be carefully selected in order to avoid batch-to-batch variability. In the present study, the effect of milling and milling intensity on the flow properties and the physico-chemical characteristics of lactose crystals has been determined. The milled lactoses were then further processed by sieving to give lactose qualities with identical size distribution data, but different batch history (non-milled and milled at different conditions). These were then used to manufacture low concentration (0.25%) drug blends with the model drugs salbutamol sulphate (SBS) and beclometasonedipropionate (BDP); the blends were analysed with a Multistage Liquid Impinger (MLI) after delivery from an Easyhaler and an Aerolizer device. It could be shown that gentle milling already results in surface defects on the lactose crystal which are further enhanced by using a higher milling intensity. Produced fine lactose particles during the milling process strongly adhere to the lactose surface and cannot be removed by compressed air which is used for the particle sizing. By trend, a higher milling intensity resulted in higher fine particle fractions (FPF) with both devices. Also, SBS was found to generally give higher fine particle fractions than BDP, independent from the device used. In conclusion, lactose pre-treatment by gentle or strong milling affects the carrier surface and thereby the aerosolization properties of drug/lactose blends produced.

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