Aerosolized amiloride: dose effect on nasal bioelectric properties, pharmacokinetics, and effect on sputum expectoration in patients with cystic fibrosis

J Aerosol Med. Summer 1997;10(2):147-58. doi: 10.1089/jam.1997.10.147.


Aerosolized amiloride normalizes the excessive sodium absorption cystic fibrosis (CF) respiratory epithelium. The aims of this study were to assess the dose-effect relationship and the duration for which amiloride inhibits Na+ transport, to determine acute and chronic pharmacokinetics, and to test the effect of acute aerosolized amiloride on the amount of sputum expectorated. The effect of inhaled amiloride was assessed principally by nasal potential difference (PD) measurements. Amiloride serum levels were measured in 23 patients after inhalation of different doses of aerosolized amiloride. Twenty CF patients inhaled amiloride (10(-3)M) or a placebo in a double-blinded, randomized order, and sputum production was quantitated. The results of this study showed that maximal initial PD inhibition was achieved by 6 x 10(-3)M of amiloride. The duration of inhibition of PD (effective time until return to 50% delta PD [ET50] after nasal administration) was dose dependent (10(-3)M, 39 +/- 0.8 minutes; 10(-2)M; 133 +/- 14 minutes). Amiloride serum levels were below 2.5 ng/ml in 20 of 28 patients; levels were above 5 ng/ml only within 4 hours after high dose inhalation (10(-2)M). In the double-blinded, crossover study, more sputum was expectorated after amiloride inhalation as compared with that after a placebo (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the bioelectric effects of amiloride and serum levels after inhalation are dose dependent, and amiloride is effective at inducing sputum expectoration in CF.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Amiloride / administration & dosage*
  • Amiloride / pharmacokinetics
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiology
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Sputum / drug effects


  • Aerosols
  • Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Amiloride
  • Sodium