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Nasal Drug Delivery Comes of Age

 

The well-established first generation of nasal sprays are those resulting in atomised liquid droplets for a topical effect in the nostrils and beyond. Decongestants and medication for rhinitis (hayfever) are well-established over-the-counter remedies in this category. They can suffer from droplet aggregation in the nostrils, running forward to reduce potential effectiveness, and patient irritation.

A number of relatively sophisticated liquid nasal devices have been introduced in recent years. These can be regarded as the second generation, enabling absorption of a therapeutic agent into the bloodstream (systemic) via inter-cellular tight junctions or transcellular migration, often using permeation enhancing excipients. While some droplets are large enough to aggregate in the nostrils, a low percentage can be small enough to pass all the way through the nasal passages to be either swallowed or inhaled into the lungs. Such low performance obviates the claim of the nasal route providing an action almost as fast as the intravenous route. Also, for liquids to dwell in the nasal passages, they need formulating with viscosity modifying compounds. Viscous formulations can complicate effective delivery of the dose, as appropriate spray technologies have to be developed, and patients trained in effective actuation of the device.


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Ian Harrison is Chief Scientific Officer for Alchemy Healthcare. Following degrees in pharmaceutical science, Ian managed a teaching hospital pharmacy and lectured in clinical pharmacology. He was a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry until becoming CSO of the company he founded. After initial work on liquid nasal delivery, his focus has been redirected by the potential for dry powder delivery.

Steve Nichols is an independent consultant who specialises in OINDP development. He has 27 years’ experience in the industry, working on a wide range of products and devices for the global market place. More recently, he has concentrated on novel delivery and powder formulation technologies. He is a member of the EP Inhalanda working group and founder of the European Pharmaceutical Aerosol Group.

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