Initial experiences with aerosolized antimicrobial therapies appeared in the literature more than 50 years ago. Until the early 1990s, the quality of the evidence supporting this strategy in the management of lung infections was poor. Recently, results from well-controlled clinical trials have established a role for inhaled antibiotics, particularly aminoglycosides, as suppressive therapy for patients with cystic fibrosis. Cyclic therapy with inhaled tobramycin reduces the frequency of pulmonary exacerbations and improves lung function.

Much of the success in this area can be attributed to enhancements in our understanding of this route of drug administration and to advances in drug delivery technology and formulations of products for aerosol administration. There is much to learn about the potential benefits of delivering therapeutic aerosols to the lung for local and systematic effects.

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