A study was undertaken to compare the amount of nebulized budesonide suspension and nebulized terbutaline sulphate solution inhaled by healthy adult subjects when conventional jet and ultrasonic nebulizers were used. Ten healthy subjects (5 male; age range, 16-52 years) used two conventional nebulizers: the Spira Elektro 4 jet nebulizer (Respiratory Care Center, Hämeenlinna, Finland) and the Spira Ultra ultrasonic nebulizer (Respiratory Care Center) in a breath-synchronized mode with each drug. The amount of drug inhaled, the inhaled mass, was defined as the amount of drug deposited on a filter between the inspiratory port of the nebulizer and the mouthpiece. The amount of budesonide and terbutaline sulphate was determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Single-dose respules were used (0.5 mg of budesonide and 5.0 mg of terbutaline sulphate), and nebulization time up to the defined gravimetric output was recorded. The inhaled mass of budesonide varied depending on the nebulizer used, whereas the inhaled mass of terbutaline was unaffected by the choice of nebulizer. The median inhaled mass of budesonide was 31.4% of the nominal dose (i.e., dose of drug in the respule per label claim) with the Spira Elektro 4 and 9.9% with the Spira Ultra, whereas the median inhaled mass of terbutaline was 50% with the Spira Elektro 4 and 52% with the Spira Ultra. It appears that a suspension is generally more difficult to nebulize than a solution and that the budesonide suspension should not be used in conventional ultrasonic nebulizers.