Characterization of dry powder inhaler performance through experimental methods

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2022 Oct:189:114518. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2022.114518. Epub 2022 Sep 2.


Experimental methods provide means for the quality control of existing DPIs and for exploring the influence of formulation and device parameters well in advance of clinical trials for novel devices and formulations. In this review, we examine the state of the art of in vitro testing of DPIs, with a focus primarily on the development of accurate in vitro-in vivo correlations. Aspects of compendial testing are discussed, followed by the influence of flow profiles on DPI performance, the characterization of extrathoracic deposition using mouth-throat geometries, and the characterization of regional thoracic deposition. Additional experimental methods that can inform the timing of bolus delivery, the influence of environmental conditions, and the development of electrostatic charge on aerosolized DPI powders are reviewed. We conclude with perspectives on current in vitro methods and identify potential areas for future investigation, including the estimation of variability in deposition, better characterization of existing compendial methods, optimization of formulation and device design to bypass extrathoracic deposition, and the use of novel tracheobronchial filters that aim to provide more clinically relevant measures of performance directly from in vitro testing.

Keywords: Aerodynamic particle size distributions; Compendial testing; Extrathoracic deposition; Fine particle dose; In vitro-in vivo correlation; Intersubject deposition variability; Optical methods; Thoracic deposition; Tracheobronchial filter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Dry Powder Inhalers* / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Particle Size
  • Powders


  • Aerosols
  • Powders