Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anesth Analg. 2012 Nov;115(5):1071-7. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182691898. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Inhaled fentanyl aerosol in healthy volunteers: pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



Rapid delivery of potent opioid to the systemic circulation is an important feature for the effective treatment of acute and acute-on-chronic breakthrough pain. The delivery of different opioids by the pulmonary route has been inconsistent, usually resulting in low bioavailability of the drug. Staccato® Fentanyl for Inhalation is a handheld inhaler producing a single metered dose of aerosolized fentanyl during a single inspiration. The aerosol is of high purity (≥98%) at a particle size (1 to 3.5 microns) shown to be best for pulmonary absorption.


We conducted the study in healthy volunteers in 2 stages. In the crossover stage, 10 subjects received IV fentanyl 25 µg and inhaled fentanyl 25 µg on separate occasions. The dose escalation stage was a multidose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-period dose escalation study of inhaled fentanyl (50 to 300 µg). Serial blood sampling was performed over an 8-hour period after drug administration to determine the pharmacokinetic profile, and serial pupillometry was performed as a measure of pharmacodynamic effect.


In the crossover stage the pharmacokinetic profiles of the inhaled and IV fentanyl showed similar peak arterial concentrations and areas under the curve. The time to maximum concentration was slightly shorter for the inhaled than IV fentanyl, 20.5 and 31.5 seconds, respectively. In the dose escalation stage the administration of repeated doses resulted in predictable, dose-dependent serum concentrations.


This study has demonstrated that the pharmacokinetic profile of single doses of inhaled fentanyl is comparable to IV administration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center