Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Inhaled Antimicrobials

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Administration of inhaled antimicrobials affords the ability to achieve targeted drug delivery into the respiratory tract, rapid entry into the systemic circulation, high bioavailability and minimal metabolism. These unique pharmacokinetic characteristics make inhaled antimicrobial delivery attractive for the treatment of many pulmonary diseases. This review examines recent pharmacokinetic trials with inhaled antibacterials, antivirals and antifungals, with an emphasis on the clinical implications of these studies. The majority of these studies revealed evidence of high antimicrobial concentrations in the airway with limited systemic exposure, thereby reducing the risk of toxicity. Sputum pharmacokinetics varied widely, which makes it challenging to interpret the result of sputum pharmacokinetic studies. Many no vel inhaled antimicrobial therapies are currently under investigation that will require detailed pharmacokinetic studies, including combination inhaled antimicrobial therapies, inhaled nanoparticle formulations of several antibacterials, inhaled non-antimicrobial adjuvants, inhaled antiviral recombinant protein therapies and semi-synthetic inhaled antifungal agents. Additionally, the development of new inhaled delivery devices, particularly for mechanically ventilated patients, will result in a pressing need for additional pharmacokinetic studies to identify optimal dosing regimens.

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