BACKGROUND: The efficacy of dry powder inhalers depends on the patient's inspiratory flow. Drug delivery from the Turbohaler (Turbuhaler in some countries), a multidose powder inhaler, is optimal at flows of > 40 l/min. The aim of this study was to investigate the peak inspiratory flow that can be generated by asthmatic patients through the budesonide Turbohaler (PIFTBH) during maintenance treatment at home. METHODS: Thirty asthmatic patients, consecutively recruited from the outpatient clinic, inhaled their maintenance dose of 800 (n = 16) or 1600 micrograms/day (n = 14) for two months or one month, respectively. The Turbohaler was connected to a modified Vitalograph Compact installed at home to obtain printed PIFTBH values for all inhalations. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) was measured twice daily. RESULTS: Flows were remarkably constant with individual mean PIFTBH values ranging from 55 l/min to 95 l/min. Only 13 of the 5248 PIFTBH recordings taken at home (three patients) were < 40 l/min and all were > 30 l/min. Weekly mean morning PEF values ranged from 114 l/min to 733 l/min. PIFTBH values could not be accurately predicted from lung function parameters in individual patients. CONCLUSIONS: In a group of stable asthmatic patients inspiratory flow rates rarely fell below the 40 l/min needed to operate a Turbohaler.
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