Measurement of the Raman spectra and hygroscopicity of four pharmaceutical aerosols as they travel from pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDI) to a model lung

N. Davidson, H. J. Tong, M. Kalberer, P. C. Seville, A. D. Ward, M. K. Kuimova, F. D. Pope

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Particle inhalation is an effective and rapid delivery method for a variety of pharmaceuticals, particularly bronchodilation drugs used for treating asthma and COPD. Conditions of relative humidity and temperature inside the lungs are generally very different from the outside ambient air, with the lung typically being warmer and more humid. Changes in humidity, from inhaler to lung, can cause hygroscopic phase transitions and particle growth. Increasing particle size and mass can negatively affect particle deposition within the lung leading to inefficient treatment, while deliquescence prior to impaction is liable to accelerate drug uptake. To better understand the hygroscopic properties of four pharmaceutical aerosol particles; pharmaceutical particles from four commercially available pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) were stably captured in an optical trap, and their composition was examined online via Raman spectroscopy. Micron-sized particles of salbutamol sulfate, salmeterol xinafoate, fluticasone propionate and ciclesonide were levitated and examined over a range of relative humidity values inside a chamber designed to mimic conditions within the respiratory tract. The effect of temperature upon hygroscopicity was also investigated for salbutamol sulfate particles. Salbutamol sulfate was found to have significant hygroscopicity, salmeterol xinafoate showed some hygroscopic interactions, whilst fluticasone propionate and ciclesonide revealed no observable hygroscopicity. Thermodynamic and structural modelling is used to explain the observed experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Hygroscopicity
  • Laser tweezers
  • Optical trapping
  • pMDI
  • Suspended particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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