A comparison of peak sputum tobramycin concentration in patients with cystic fibrosis using jet and ultrasonic nebulizer systems. Aerosolized Tobramycin Study Group

Chest. 1997 Apr;111(4):955-62. doi: 10.1378/chest.111.4.955.


Study objective: To determine whether adequate concentrations of a new formulation of tobramycin could be delivered to the lower respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) using a jet nebulizer delivery system.

Design: A multicenter, open-label, randomized, crossover study.

Setting: Ten tertiary care, university-affiliated, teaching hospitals in the United States.

Patients and control subjects: Sixty-eight patients recruited from 10 CF Foundation centers and who were at least 8 years of age, had a diagnosis of CF, and expectorated daily sputum. No control subjects enrolled.

Interventions: Each patient received one administration of aerosolized tobramycin from each of the three nebulizer systems in random order. Each administration was separated by a minimum of 48 h. The two jet nebulizer systems tested were the Sidestream (Medic-Aid; Sussex, UK), and the Pari LC (Pari Respiratory Equipment; Richmond, Va), with a DeVilbiss Pulmoaide compressor (DeVilbiss Health Care; Somerset, Pa), both administering 300 mg tobramycin in 5 mL of 1/4 normal saline solution (NS). Patients were also administered 600 mg tobramycin in 30 mL of 1/2 NS with the UltraNeb 99/100 (DeVilbiss).

Measurements: Sputum and serum tobramycin concentration and pulmonary function were monitored. An adequate peak sputum tobramycin concentration was defined as > 128 microg/g sputum at any of three time points (10, 60, or 120 min) after completion of treatments.

Results: The peak tobramycin concentrations in expectorated sputum were 687+/-663 microg/g (mean+/-SD) with the Pari LC and 489+/-402 microg/g with the Sidestream. Adequate peak sputum tobramycin concentration was achieved in 93% of the patients with the Sidestream, and in 87% of the patients with the Pari LC. Peak sputum concentrations were found to be substantially higher when patients received tobramycin administered with the UltraNeb 99/100, 1,498+/-1,331 microg/g with 30% of patients having levels exceeding 2,000 microg/g. Serum tobramycin concentrations were < or = 4 microg/mL for all patients following administration with each nebulizer.

Conclusions: Adequately high sputum tobramycin concentrations were documented in sputum in > 85% of patients following the administration of 300 mg/5 mL formulation of tobramycin aerosolized by the two jet nebulizer delivery systems, Sidestream and Pari LC. The single tobramycin administration delivered by these two systems is well-tolerated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Sputum / chemistry*
  • Tobramycin / administration & dosage*
  • Tobramycin / analysis*
  • Tobramycin / pharmacokinetics
  • Ultrasonics


  • Tobramycin