Measurement of Particle Size Characteristics of Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) Aerosols
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Measurement of the aerodynamic size of an aerosol allows a prediction of its deposition efficiency and behaviour in the lung. The dynamics of volatile or pressurized (MDI) aerosols presents problems not encountered in the characterization of solid or liquid particles alone. For example, the data obtained in real-time sampling as opposed to measuring an aged aerosol provide a truer representation of circumstances during actual clinical use, yet this may be difficult to achieve due to propellent evaporation. A number of particle sizing systems have been developed based upon light scattering techniques and aerodynamic principles. Each method has its limitations; in general, they successfully measure the aerodynamic size distributions of MDI aerosols. Cascade impactors, the "gold standard" of the industry have the advantage that they allow analysis of drug mass as well as other tracers within the aerosol, but the process as a whole is labour intensive, with limited resolution. Highly automated laser-based systems developed over the past 10 years measure the surface characteristics of the aerosol rather than the direct measurement of mass. Because of different values obtained from various sizing systems, it is suggested that all MDI drugs be sized using cascade impactors but that parallel data be obtained using an alternative sizing system.
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