Challenges for pulmonary delivery of high powder doses

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In recent years there is an increasing interest in the pulmonary delivery of large cohesive powder doses, i.e. drugs with a low potency such as antibiotics or drugs with a high potency that need a substantial fraction of excipient(s) such as vaccines stabilized in sugar glasses. The pulmonary delivery of high powder doses comes with unique challenges. For low potency drugs, the use of excipients should be minimized to limit the powder mass to be inhaled as much as possible. To achieve this objective the inhaler design should be adapted to the properties of the API in order to achieve a compatible combination of the drug formulation and inhaler device. The inhaler should have an appropriate powder dosing principle for which prefilled compartments seem most appropriate. The drug formulation should not only allow for accurate filling of these compartments but also enable efficient compartment emptying during inhalation. The dispersion principle must have the capacity to disperse considerable amounts of powder in a short time frame that allows the powder to reach the deep lung. Last, but not least, the inhaler should be simple and intuitive in use, be cost-effective and exhibit accurate and consistent, preferably patient independent, pulmonary delivery performance.

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