Lung pharmacokinetics of inhaled and systemic drugs: A clinical evaluation
Background and Purpose: Human pharmacokinetic studies of lung-targeted drugs are typically limited to measurements of systemic plasma concentrations, which provide no direct information on lung target-site concentrations. We aimed to evaluate lung pharmacokinetics of commonly prescribed drugs by sampling different lung compartments after inhalation and oral administration. Experimental Approach: Healthy volunteers received single, sequential doses of either inhaled salbutamol, salmeterol and fluticasone propionate (n = 12), or oral salbutamol and propranolol (n = 6). Each participant underwent bronchoscopies and gave breath samples for analysis of particles in exhaled air at two points after drug administration (1 and 6, 2 and 9, 3 and 12, or 4 and 18 h). Lung samples were taken via bronchosorption, bronchial brush, mucosal biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage during each bronchoscopy. Blood samples were taken during the 24 h after administration. Pharmacokinetic profiles were generated by combining data from multiple individuals, covering all sample timings. Key Results: Pharmacokinetic profiles were obtained for each drug in lung epithelial lining fluid, lung tissue and plasma. Inhalation of salbutamol resulted in approximately 100-fold higher concentrations in lung than in plasma. Salmeterol and fluticasone concentration ratios in lung versus plasma were higher still. Bronchosorption- and bronchoalveolar-lavage-generated profiles of inhaled drugs in epithelial lining fluid were comparable. For orally administered drugs, epithelial-lining-fluid concentrations were overestimated in bronchoalveolar-lavage-generated profiles. Conclusion and Implications: Combining pharmacokinetic data derived from several individuals and techniques sampling different lung compartments enabled generation of pharmacokinetic profiles for evaluation of lung targeting after inhaled and oral drug delivery.