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J Pharm Sci. 2013 Apr;102(4):1165-72. doi: 10.1002/jps.23465. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Back to the future: inhaled drug products.

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Center for Aerosol and Nanomaterials, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Inhaled therapeutic aerosols continue to be an important treatment for asthma and pulmonary diseases. A variety of dosage forms are employed for different indications and demographics including pressurized or propellant-driven metered dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, and nebulizers/nebules. Research and development in this field has shown remarkable innovation in the past decade. Important new drug products for the treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and a range of neurological disorders have been developed. New devices in each of the dosage form categories also have been developed, and new formulation technologies have been adopted. Unlike many other dosage forms, as new inhaled products appeared few of the existing products were converted to generic form. This may be explained by the formulation and device complexity, the implications for degree of difficulty in obtaining regulatory approval, and the prevalence of intellectual property in the field. After the setback of the initial approval and subsequent withdrawal of the Exubera®-inhaled insulin, there appeared to be reluctance to consider the pulmonary route of administration for systemically acting agents, particularly peptides and proteins. However, recent product development activities and approvals suggest that attitudes may be changing in favor of systemic delivery following inhaled aerosol administration. The new inhaled drug technologies seem to be driving reconsideration of therapeutic categories for indications that were of interest at the inception of modern inhaled drug therapy in the past century. We should embrace the opportunity to use new drugs and technologies to go back to the future!

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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