Condensational Growth of Combination Drug-Excipient Submicrometer Particles for Targeted High Efficiency Pulmonary Delivery: Comparison of CFD Predictions with Experimental Results

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The objective of this study was to investigate the hygroscopic growth of combination drug and excipient submicrometer aerosols for respiratory drug delivery using in vitro experiments and a newly developed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model.


Submicrometer combination drug and excipient particles were generated experimentally using both the capillary aerosol generator and the Respimat inhaler. Aerosol hygroscopic growth was evaluated in vitro and with CFD in a coiled tube geometry designed to provide residence times and thermodynamic conditions consistent with the airways.


The in vitro results and CFD predictions both indicated that the initially submicrometer particles increased in mean size to a range of 1.6-2.5 μm for the 50:50 combination of a non-hygroscopic drug (budesonide) and different hygroscopic excipients. CFD results matched the in vitro predictions to within 10% and highlighted gradual and steady size increase of the droplets, which will be effective for minimizing extrathoracic deposition and producing deposition deep within the respiratory tract.


Enhanced excipient growth (EEG) appears to provide an effective technique to increase pharmaceutical aerosol size, and the developed CFD model will provide a powerful design tool for optimizing this technique to produce high efficiency pulmonary delivery.

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