Surface modification of lactose carrier particles using a fluid bed coater to improve fine particle fraction for dry powder inhalers

Qin Qin Gong, Justin Yong Soon Tay, Natalia Veronica, Jian Xu, Paul Wan Sia Heng, Yong Ping Zhang, Celine Valeria Liew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Surface roughness of carrier particles can impact dry powder inhaler (DPI) performance. There are opposing views on the effect of roughness on DPI performance. Hence, a systematic approach is needed to modify carrier surfaces and evaluate the impact on drug delivery. Carrier particle surfaces were modified by fluid bed coating with saturated lactose containing micronized lactose of different sizes (2, 5 and 8 μm) and coated to different levels (20, 40, 60 and 80%). Their drug delivery performance was assessed by the fine particle fraction (FPF). Roughness parameters, mean arithmetic roughness (Ra) and arithmetic mean height (Sa), of the carrier particles, were also evaluated using optical profilometry and scanning laser microscopy. Generally, particles of higher Ra had higher FPF. Higher Sa resulted in higher FPF only for particles with 60 and 80% coat levels. Reduced contact surface area between the drug particle and rougher carrier particle resulted in easier drug detachment during aerosolization. The 5 µm micronized lactose produced optimal carrier particles with respect to FPF and surface roughness. The study highlighted that with the ideal particles for surface roughening and coating level, surface roughening could be efficiently achieved by fluid bed coating for superior DPI performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-175
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical Development and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023


  • Dry powder inhaler
  • fine particle fraction
  • fluid bed particle coating
  • lactose carrier
  • surface roughness

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