AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 455–461 | Cite as

Aerosol generation by metered-dose inhalers containing dimethyl ether/propane inverse microemulsions

  • Mark L. Sommerville
  • Anthony J. Hickey


Water soluble compounds were incorporated into metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) by using water-in-propellant lecithin microemulsions, in which dimethyl ether (DME) and propane acted as both continuous phase and propellant. Lecithin, water, and water soluble compounds were added to glass MDI containers, valves were crimped on, and propellants were added using a pressure burette. Aerosols were produced using commercially available actuators, and inertial impaction was used to determine the mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD), geometric standard deviation (GSD), and fine particle fraction (FPF) of the resulting aerosols. The DME/propane/lecithin, microemulsion MDIs generated aerosols with particle size distributions suitable for pulmonary delivery (eg, MMAD 3.1 μm, FPF 59% for DME with lecithin content 3%, water content 2.5% [wt/wt]). Increasing water concentration (up to 8% wt/wt) was correlated with a reduction in FPF. Freezing and rewarming had no adverse effect on MMAD, GSD, or FPF. Storage of microemulsion samples for up to 3 weeks did not adversely affect the MMAD, GSD, or FPF. This approach may enable the pulmonary delivery of water soluble therapeutic agents via MDIs.


microemulsion lecithin pulmonary dimethyl ether propane 


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GlaxoSmithKline, IncResearch Triangle Park
  2. 2.School of PharmacyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel Hill

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