The Influence of Relative Humidity and Storage Conditions on the Physico-chemical Properties of Inhalation Grade Fine Lactose

Milica Stankovic-Brandl, Sarah Zellnitz, Paul Wirnsberger, Mirjam Kobler, Amrit Paudel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) are favorable devices for the delivery of dry formulations to the lungs; still, they largely fail to deliver higher doses of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to the lower airways. Addition of fine particles of excipient (fines) to the blend of API and carrier was shown to improve aerosolization performance. Lactose monohydrate is ubiquitous excipient used for this purpose. Lactose exists in a thermodynamically stable crystalline form; however, processes like milling, sieving, or even mixing may induce alteration of crystalline structure and introduce amorphous domains, which could further affect the physico-chemical properties of the material. Therefore, the aim of this work is a detailed characterization of two commercially available types of inhalation grade fine lactose powders (Inhalac 400 and Inhalac 500) prepared using different air-jet milling parameters, with a focus on impact of storage conditions on material properties. We found that the different milling parameters resulted in variable particle size distribution (PSD), and thus surface areas, variable initial amorphous content, cohesivity, flowability, and moisture sorption of materials. In addition, exposure of fine powders to higher humidity reduced the amorphous content present in the materials, but also affected agglomeration tendency and dispersion behavior of both powders. We believe the obtained findings to be important for the aerosolization performance of carrier-based DPIs containing fines and thus need to be duly considered during formulation development. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalAAPS PharmSciTech
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Charge
  • Flowability
  • Inhalation fines
  • Lactose
  • Storage
  • Water content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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