The Optimisation of Carrier Selection in Dry Powder Inhaler Formulation and the Role of Surface Energetics

Olaitan Abiona, David Wyatt, Jasdip Koner, Afzal Mohammed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review examines the effects of particle properties on drug–carrier interactions in the preparation of a dry powder inhaler (DPI) formulation, including appropriate mixing technology. The interactive effects of carrier properties on DPI formulation performance make it difficult to establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between any one carrier property and its effect on the performance of a DPI formulation. Alpha lactose monohydrate remains the most widely used carrier for DPI formulations. The physicochemical properties of α-lactose monohydrate particles, such as particle size, shape and solid form, are profoundly influenced by the method of production. Therefore, wide variations in these properties are inevitable. In this review, the role of surface energetics in the optimisation of dry powder inhaler formulations is considered in lactose carrier selection. Several useful lactose particle modification methods are discussed as well as the use of fine lactose and force control agents in formulation development. It is concluded that where these have been investigated, the empirical nature of the studies does not permit early formulation prediction of product performance, rather they only allow the evaluation of final formulation quality. The potential to leverage particle interaction dynamics through the use of an experimental design utilising quantifiable lactose particle properties and critical quality attributes, e.g., surface energetics, is explored, particularly with respect to when a Quality-by-Design approach has been used in optimisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2707
Number of pages19
Issue number11
Early online date26 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Funding: This research was funded by Aston University Overseas Bursary.


  • Review
  • dry powder inhaler
  • surface energetics
  • lactose
  • design of experiments
  • aerosolisation
  • carrier morphology


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