The use of aerosol delivery systems continues to be a desirable means of administering locally acting agents to the lungs. Since the early 1990s there has been a surge of interest in the pulmonary delivery of proteins and peptides for systemic activity but to date none of these products have made it to market . During this period the major commercial successes have been in the form of dry powder systems  and alternative propellant systems , as will be discussed later in the chapter. The incidence of asthma and chronic obstructive disease continues to rise and the need for improvement and diversity of therapies remains a priority in their treatment .
Aerosol foams, sprays, and powders have been used in personal [4,5], household , engineering, food, cosmetic , and pharmaceutical products [8-10]. This technology has had a significant influence on society in the last 50 years. Many people have direct experience of the pharmaceutical aerosol systems used to treat asthma. The ability of the patient to use these aerosols properly is a serious concern in the treatment of this disease. This may in part be attributed to poor instruction in the use of the devices. However, underlying the problem is a general lack of understanding of the principles of operation and limitations of inhalation products.
Material discussed in previous chapters (notably in Chaps. 1, 3, and 6) has focused in a concise review of the methods of aerosol generation and administration, concluding with some comments on aerosol therapy. My intention is to place material that has appeared in previous chapters in context and to facilitate the discussions of clinical applications that appear in subsequent chapters.
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