Fast Onset Medications through Thermally Generated Aerosols

Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Martin Wensley, Peter Lloyd, Daniel Myers, William Shen, Amy Lu, Craig Hodges, Ron Hale, Daniel Mufson, Alejandro Zaffaroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Smoking involves heating a drug to form a mixture of drug vapor and gaseous degradation products. These gases subsequently cool and condense into aerosol particles that are inhaled. Here, we demonstrate rapid and reliable systemic delivery of pure pharmaceutical compounds without degradation products through a related process that also involves inhalation of thermally generated aerosol. Drug is coated as a thin film on a metallic substrate and vaporized by heating the metal. The thin nature of the drug coating minimizes the length of time during which the drug is exposed to elevated temperatures, thereby preventing its thermal decomposition. The vaporized, gas-phase drug rapidly condenses and coagulates into micrometer-sized aerosol particles. For the commonly prescribed antimigraine drug rizatriptan, inhalation of these particles results in nearly instantaneous systemic drug action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-775
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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