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Decreasing use of Diuretic can cure heart failure patients, study suggests

ANI | Updated: May 26, 2019 14:28 IST

Washington D.C [U.S.A], May 26 (ANI): According to a recent study it has been found that patients with a stable heart can easily be cured if they decrease the consumption of Diuretics, a relief drug for patients with heart failure.
The study was discussed in a meeting, 'Heart Failure 2019'.
Dr Luis E. Rohde, principal investigator of the research said, "Heart failure patients have many pills to take for their heart failure and for comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension. Withdrawing one drug when it is no longer necessary should make it easier to take the ones that are needed."
"Patients don't like using diuretics because they feel they have to stay at home to use the bathroom and they get cramps," he added. "Patients would welcome being able to stop this medication."
Diuretics are commonly prescribed for symptom relief in patients with heart failure. The drugs get rid of the excess fluids (congestion) which causes shortness of breath, swollen legs, coughing, and weight gain. Once the symptoms have resolved, patients are maintained on a low dose due to concerns that symptoms may return. Observational research has shown that long-term diuretic use is associated with a worse prognosis.
The researchers examined the safety and tolerability of withdrawing the diuretic furosemide in patients with stable chronic heart failure. The trial was conducted by the Brazilian Research Network in Heart Failure (ReBIC), which includes 11 tertiary care university hospitals in Brazil.
Eligible criteria were: no or mild symptoms, no heart failure-related hospital admission within the last six months, and receiving low-dose furosemide (40 to 80 mg per day) for at least six months.
A total of 188 patients were randomly allocated to maintain or withdraw furosemide. Patients in the withdrawal group received a placebo pill. Both patients and investigators were blinded to the treatment allocation. The trial had two coprimary outcomes: 1) patient-reported dyspnoea using a visual analogue scale at four-time points across 90 days; and 2) the proportion of patients maintained without additional diuretics during the 90-day follow-up.
There was no difference between the groups in the self-perception of dyspnoea during the 90-day follow-up period. Also, 72 patients (75.3 per cent) in the withdrawal group and 78 patients (83.9 per cent) in the maintenance group were free of furosemide reuse during follow-up.
Senior author of the research, Dr Andreia Biolo, who presented the results said, "The results show that patients with stable heart failure who stop diuretics do not have more dyspnoea than those who continue taking the drug. Withdrawal also does not lead to increased reuse of diuretics - around 20 per cent of patients in both groups needed a top-up, presumably for symptom relief."
Dr Rohde said that the findings indicate that diuretics can be safely discontinued in heart failure patients meeting the trial's eligibility criteria. "Most patients we see in the heart failure outpatient clinic fulfil the trial criteria and could benefit from this strategy," he said.
No extra observation is needed for patients who quit taking diuretics, noted Dr Biolo. "Patients can be followed-up in the usual way," she said.
"And, as we do now, patients should be educated to seek medical help if they become breathless, get oedema, or have sudden weight gain which indicates fluid retention," she added. (ANI)