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Pharm Dev Technol. 2007;12(1):35-41.

Particle size and charge distribution analysis of pharmaceutical aerosols generated by inhalers.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Health Sciences Center, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Aerosol particles generated by inhalers for respiratory drug delivery acquire electrostatic charge during the dispersion process. The electrostatic charge distribution of the particles can affect the efficiency of drug delivery by influencing both the transport and deposition of inhaled particles in the human lung. To analyze the electrostatic charge acquired by the aerosol particles, two sets of metered-dose inhaler (MDI) and dry powder inhaler (DPI) devices were investigated. Both the particle size and charge distributions were measured simultaneously by using an electrical single-particle aerodynamic relaxation time (E-SPART) analyzer. The analyzer was calibrated with particles of known size, which were generated by a vibrating orifice aerosol generator (TSI Inc.) and charge using the Faraday cup method. The charge distributions of the pharmaceutical aerosols from both the DPI and MDI devices were bipolar in nature. Although the net charge-to-mass ratio was less than 0.2 microC/g, the individual particles were charged with a relatively high charge: -2 to + 2 microC/g. The count mean aerodynamic diameter of the aerosols generated from these devices was 3-5 microm.

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