Delivery of antibiotics to the respiratory tract: an update

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2009 Sep;6(9):897-905. doi: 10.1517/17425240903110710.


The use of inhaled medications for the treatment of pulmonary diseases has become an increasingly popular drug delivery route over the past few decades. This delivery route allows for a drug to be delivered directly to the site of the disease, with a lower dose than more conventional oral or intravenous delivery methods, with reduced systemic absorption and consequently reduced risk of adverse effects. For asthma this delivery route has become the 'golden standard' of therapy. It is not unexpected therefore, that there has been great interest in the prospect of using inhaled antibiotics for the treatment of both chronic and recurrent respiratory infections. Since the early 1980s, several investigations have demonstrated that antibiotics could be delivered safely by means of inhalation, using nebulisers as their delivery systems. Lately, antibiotics delivery via inhalation have seen a 'revival' in interest and most of these studies have focused on delivering antibiotics to the lungs by means of a dry powder format. This review focuses on recent advances in antibiotic inhalation therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents