Discontinuation of Loop Diuretics in Older Patients with Chronic Stable Heart Failure: A Narrative Review

Link to article at PubMed

Drugs Aging. 2023 Aug 25. doi: 10.1007/s40266-023-01061-1. Online ahead of print.


Loop diuretics (LDs) represent the cornerstone treatment for relieving pulmonary congestion in patients with heart failure (HF). Their benefit is well-recognized in the short term because of their ability to eliminate fluid retention. However, long term, they could adversely influence prognosis due to activation of the neurohumoral mechanism, particularly in older, frail patients. Moreover, the advent of new drugs capable of improving outcomes and reducing pulmonary and systemic congestion signs in HF emphasizes the possibility of a progressive reduction and discontinuation of LD treatment. Nevertheless, few studies were aimed at investigating the safety of LDs withdrawal in older patients with chronic stable HF. This current review aims to approach current evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of LDs discontinuation in patients with chronic stable HF, and is based on the material obtained via the PubMed and Scopus databases from January 2000 to November 2022. Our search yielded five relevant studies, including two randomized controlled trials. All participants presented stable HF at the time of study enrolment. Apart from one study, all the investigations were conducted in patients with HF with reduced ejection fraction. The most common outcomes examined were the need for diuretic resumption or the event of death and rehospitalization after diuretic withdrawal. As a whole, although based on a few investigations with a low grade of evidence, diuretic therapy discontinuation might be a safe strategy that deserves consideration for patients with stable HF. However, extensive investigations in older adults, accounting for frailty status, are warranted to confirm these data in this peculiar class of patients.

PMID:37620655 | DOI:10.1007/s40266-023-01061-1

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