Inhalation of single vs multiple metered-dose bronchodilator actuations from reservoir devices: An in vitro study

Joseph L. Rau, Ruben D. Restrepo, Vijay Deshpande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Differences in inhalation technique with reservoir or spacer devices may affect metered-dose inhaler (MDI) dose availability to a patient. Purpose: This study examined the effect of single vs multiple actuations of an MDI into reservoir devices on dose delivery of albuterol, with three clinically available reservoir brands. Methods: An in vitro lung model simulated inspiration from the MDI reservoir system. Albuterol (Proventil; Schering) was delivered by MDI, with the Monaghan Aerochamber, the Diemolding Healthcare Division (DHD) aerosol cloud enhancer (ACE), and the Schering InspirEase, using standardized volumes and inspiratory flows of 30 L min- 1. The MDI was actuated into each brand of reservoir 1, 2, or 3 times in rapid succession, followed by a single inhalation. Aerosol dose at the reservoir mouthpiece was captured on a cotton filter, dissolved in ethanol, and measured with a spectrophotometer at 278 nm. Results: For all three brands of reservoir, less accumulated dose of drug is delivered with multiple actuations than with multiple single actuations each followed by inhalation. The total dose in milligrams increased significantly with two multiple actuations compared with one actuation in the Aerochamber and ACE (p<0.01), but not in the InspirEase (p>0.05). The Aerochamber, ACE, and InspirEase delivered a mean total dose (SD) of 0.0264 mg (0.012), 0.0271 mg (0.007), and 0.0136 mg (0.006), respectively, with one actuation compared to 0.0485 mg (0.011), 0.0453 mg (0.013), and 0.0218 mg (0.009) with two multiple actuations. The increase in total dose with three multiple actuations was not significant compared to two actuations for any of the brands tested (p>0.05). Although total dose increased with multiple actuations, a decline in efficiency was seen with two and three multiple actuations, compared to single actuation. The dose delivered per actuation decreased for the Aerochamber, ACE, and InspirEase from 0.0264 mg (0.012), 0.0271 mg (0.007), and 0.0136 mg (0.006) with one actuation, to 0.0243 mg (0.006), 0.0226 mg (0.006), and 0.0109 mg (0.005), respectively, with two multiple actuations, for losses of 8.0%, 16.0%, and 19.9% in dose per actuation for each brand. A further decline in delivery per actuation to 0.0164 mg (0.001), 0.0184 mg (0.004), and 0.0097 mg (0.005) for the 3 brands, respectively, was found with 3 multiple actuations before inhalation. This was a loss of 37.9%, 32.1%, and 28.7% of the dose per single actuation in each brand. There was no significant difference between the Aerochamber and the ACE in dose availability with 1, 2, or 3 actuations, but both of these brands provided significantly more drug than the InspirEase. Conclusion: Maximal aerosol bronchodilator from an MDI reservoir was given by single actuations each followed by a breath. Two rapid actuations followed by a breath will give a significant accumulation of dose with some loss when compared to two single actuations each followed by inhalation. Three multiple actuations led to a loss of approximately one third of the drug dose obtainable with three single actuations each followed by inhalation, for all three brands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-974
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • aerosol delivery
  • beta agonist
  • bronchodilator
  • metered-dose inhaler (MDI)
  • multiple actuations
  • reservoir
  • spacer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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