Tobacco Pipes as Dry Powder Asthma Inhalers – a feasibility study

Asthma-PipeIn the absence of a purpose-made dry powder inhaler device (e.g. Spinhaler®) could asthma sufferers use a pipe? Researchers Tan Suwandecha, Kirksak Assawadarakorn and Teerapol Srichana of the Drug Delivery System Excellence Center and Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, undertook a study in 2012 to assess the viability of such an idea. Practical experiments with a pressure-drop determining apparatus, three grades of specially formulated dry powder (with Mass Median Aerodynamic Diameters [MMADs] of 4-6 µm), three commercially produced inhalers and two tobacco pipes (straight and curved) showed that :

“The formulation containing the carrier size ranges of 30-71 μm provided the greatest percent FPF [Fine Particle Fraction].

When considering the device resistance, it was found that the tobacco pipes provided a higher device resistance than the Inhalator®.”

Thus the team recommend further research to optimise the pipes :

“[…] they still need some modification to the mouthpiece part by increasing the diameter of the pipes outlet to reduce the drug loss via inertial impaction and decrease the device resistance for ease of inhalation.”

See:’Feasibility studies of using a tobacco pipe as a dry powder inhaler device’ Thai J. Pharm. Sci. 36 (2012) 1-1.

Note: Yes, Improbable did think of titling this article “Ceci n’est pas un inhalateur pour l’asthme” but resisted the temptation.