A review of the development of Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler

Int J Pharm. 2004 Sep 28;283(1-2):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2004.06.018.


Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler (SMI) is a new generation inhaler from Boehringer Ingelheim developed for use with respiratory drugs. The device functions by forcing a metered dose of drug solution through a unique and precisely engineered nozzle (the uniblock), producing two fine jets of liquid that converge at a pre-set angle. The collision of these two jets generates the soft mist. The soft mist contains a high fine particle fraction of approximately 65 to 80%. This is higher than aerosol clouds from conventional portable inhaler devices, such as pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) and dry powder inhalers (DPIs). In addition, the relatively long generation time of the aerosol cloud (approximately 1.5s) facilitates co-ordination of inhalation and actuation--a major problem with pMDIs. These features, together with the slow velocity of the soft mist, result in larger amounts of the drug reaching the lungs and less being deposited in the oropharynx compared with either pMDIs or DPIs. Generation of the soft mist from Respimat SMI is purely mechanical, so propellants are not necessary. The innovative design of Respimat SMI, using water-based drug formulations, ensures patients receive consistent and reliable doses of the drug with each actuation. The device was initially tested in scintigraphic lung deposition studies and produced encouraging results when compared with the chlorofluorocarbon-based pMDI (CFC-MDI). Subsequent clinical studies have confirmed that Respimat SMI is effective and safe in delivering bronchodilators to patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Equipment Design*
  • Humans
  • Metered Dose Inhalers*
  • Particle Size
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*


  • Aerosols
  • Bronchodilator Agents