Terbutaline sulfate is widely used as a bronchodilator for the treatment of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. As it has a short biological half-life, a long acting terbutaline sulfate formulation is desirable to improve patient compliance. Bovine serum albumin microspheres were prepared by an emulsion polymerization method using glutaraldehyde as the crosslinking agent. All microspheres were spherical and smooth with the mean particle size in the range of 22-30 mum. Drug release from the BSA microspheres displayed a biphasic pattern characterized by an initial fast release, followed by a slower release. The released amount was decreased with an increase in the glutaraldehyde concentration. In the absence of trypsin, the time required for complete degradation of microspheres was increased from 144 to 264 h when the glutaraldehyde concentration increased from 0.1 to 0.7 ml. In the presence of trypsin, a linear relationship was obtained between the degradation rates and trypsin concentrations, indicating that saturation was not reached under the experimental conditions. Biodistribution studies indicated that the degree of uptake by the lungs was higher than that of the other organs. All these results demonstrated that terbutaline sulfate loaded microspheres can be used for passive lung targeting. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.