Influence of inspiratory flow rate, particle size, and airway caliber on aerosolized drug delivery to the lung.
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A number of studies in the literature support the use of fine aerosols of drug, inhaled at low IFRs to target peripheral airways, with the objective of improving clinical responses to inhaled therapy (Fig. 8). Attempts have been made to separate response due to changes in total administered dose or the surface concentration of the dose from response due to changes in site of deposition--both are affected by the particle size of the aerosol, with IFR additionally influencing the latter. The tools for measuring dose and distribution have improved over the last 10-15 years, and thus we should expect greater accuracy in these measurements for assessing drug delivery to the lung. There are still issues, though, in producing radiolabeled (99m)technetium aerosols that are precise markers for the pharmaceutical product being tested and in quantitating absolute doses deposited in the lung. PET isotopes may provide the means for directly labelling a drug and perhaps can offer an alternative for making these measurements in the future, but deposition measurements should not be used in isolation; protocols should incorporate clinical tests to provide parallel therapeutic data in response to inhalation of the drug by the various patient populations being studied.
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