Improved Physical Stability and Aerosolization of Inhalable Amorphous Ciprofloxacin Powder Formulations by Incorporating Synergistic Colistin

Nivedita Shetty, Patricia Ahn, Heejun Park, Sonal Bhujbal, Dmitry Zemlyanov, Alex Cavallaro, Sharad Mangal, Jian Li, Qi Tony Zhou

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28 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to develop dry powder inhaler (DPI) combination formulations of ciprofloxacin and colistin for use in respiratory infections. Effects of colistin on physical stability and aerosolization of spray-dried ciprofloxacin were examined. The combination DPI formulations were produced by co-spray drying colistin and ciprofloxacin in mass ratios of 1:1, 1:3, and 1:9. Colistin and ciprofloxacin were also co-sprayed with l-leucine in the mass ratio of 1:1:1. The physical and aerosolization stability of the selected co-sprayed formulations stored at 20, 55, and 75% relative humidity (RH) were examined. Formulation characterizations were carried out using powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) for crystallinity, scanning electron microscopy for morphology and particle size distribution, and dynamic vapor sorption for moisture sorption. Particle surface analysis was performed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, and nano-time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. Potential intermolecular interactions were studied using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Aerosol performance was evaluated using a multistage liquid impinger with a RS01 monodose inhaler device. PXRD diffractograms showed that the co-spray-dried colistin-ciprofloxacin formulation in the mass ratio (1:1) was amorphous at 55% RH for up to 60 days; whereas the co-spray-dried colistin-ciprofloxacin (1:3) and colistin-ciprofloxacin (1:9) crystallized after storage for 3 days at 55% RH. However, the extent of crystallization for the combination formulations was less as compared to the spray-dried ciprofloxacin alone formulation. Surface morphology of the co-spray-dried formulations at different concentrations did not change even after storage at 55% RH for 60 days, unlike the spray-dried ciprofloxacin alone powder which became rougher after 3 days of storage at 55% RH. Surface analysis data indicated surface enrichment of colistin in the co-spray-dried formulations. Increasing colistin concentration on the composite particles surfaces improved aerosol performance of ciprofloxacin. FTIR data demonstrated intermolecular interactions between colistin and ciprofloxacin, thereby delaying and/or preventing crystallization of ciprofloxacin when co-spray-dried. Co-spray drying ciprofloxacin with colistin in the mass ratio (1:1) completely prevented crystallization of ciprofloxacin at 55% RH for up to 60 days. However, the colistin-ciprofloxacin formulation (1:1) began to fuse when stored at 75% RH due to moisture absorption resulting in a compromised aerosol performance. In contrast, the colistin-ciprofloxacin-leucine (1:1:1) formulation demonstrated no particle fusion, enabling a stable aerosol performance at 75% RH for 7 days. This study demonstrated that incorporation of colistin in the spray-dried formulations can improve physical stability and aerosolization of amorphous ciprofloxacin at 55% RH. At 75% RH, further addition of l-leucine in the formulation prevented particle fusion and deterioration in aerosol performance, attributed to the enrichment of nonhygroscopic l-leucine on the particle surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4004-4020
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2018


  • aerosol performance
  • co-spray drying
  • dry powder inhaler
  • multidrug resistance
  • storage humidity

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