In vitro measures of aerosol particles size, such as the fine particle mass, play a pivotal role for approval of inhaled anti-asthmatic drugs. However, the validity as a measure of dose to the lungs in children lacks evidence. In this study we investigated for the first time the association between an in vivo estimate of lung dose of inhaled drug in children and the corresponding particle size segments assessed ex vivo. Lung dose of fluticasone propionate after inhalation from a dry powder inhaler (Diskus®) was studied in 23 children aged 4-7 and 12-15 years with mild asthma. Six-hour pharmacokinetics was assessed after single inhalation. The corresponding emitted mass of drug in segments of aerosol particle size was assessed ex vivo by replicating the inhalation flows recorded by transducers built into the Diskus® inhaler and re-playing them in a breathing simulator. There was no correlation between any inhaled particle size segment and lung dose assessed by pharmacokinetics and adjusted for age and body size. Measures of particles size segments were not related to lung dose in children. Until further evidence is provided it may be warranted to emphasize pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic assessments of drug delivery to the lung.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Supplement, 2013, Vol 53, Issue 5, p. 517-22