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J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2008 Mar;21(1):77-84. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2007.0643.

In vitro/in vivo comparisons in pulmonary drug delivery.

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Establishing clear relationships between in vitro and in vivo data for inhaled drug products is an important goal. In vitro aerodynamic particle size distributions (APSDs) are expected to have some predictive power not only for drug deposition, but also for clinical effects. APSD data obtained by cascade impaction have been compared with lung deposition data measured in gamma scintigraphy studies. Whole-lung deposition correlated significantly with fine particle fraction (FPF) across a range of inhaler devices. FPF, defined in terms of aerosol <5.8 microm or <6.8 microm diameter, systematically overestimated lung deposition for virtually all inhalers. Lung deposition showed closer numerical equivalence to the percentage of the aerosol dose smaller than 3 microm diameter. Correlations exist between APSD data and whole-lung deposition, which may allow the greater use of APSD data for comparing inhaler devices. Agreement between in vitro and in vivo data may be improved by measuring APSD in ways that more closely mimic clinical use, including the use of impactor inlets that simulate the human upper airway anatomy. At the present time there are few published data that relate APSD to the clinical response of inhaled drugs in an unambiguous way.

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