Clinical Use of Oral Opioid Therapy for Dyspnea in Patients With Advanced Heart Failure?- A Single-Center Retrospective Study

Link to article at PubMed

Circ Rep. 2023 Aug 31;5(9):351-357. doi: 10.1253/circrep.CR-23-0059. eCollection 2023 Sep 8.


Background: For patients with advanced heart failure, palliative care, including opioids, is needed as a treatment for refractory dyspnea. However, little evidence has been reported on the efficacy and safety of opioids, and their use is not well established. Methods and Results: We have introduced a protocol for the use of opioids for dyspnea in patients with advanced heart failure admitted to Saitama Citizens Medical Center. Following this protocol, differences in clinical variables and outcome were investigated between patients in whom opioids were initiated intravenously or subcutaneously (i.v./s.c. group; n=13) and patients in whom they were initiated orally (oral group; n=18). In a comparison of baseline characteristics, significantly more patients in the oral group had a history of hospitalization for heart failure within the past year, and significantly more patients were treated with dobutamine and tolvaptan. After initiation of opioid treatment, both groups showed improvement in dyspnea; however, serial changes in vital signs were significantly greater in the i.v./s.c. group. The survival rate was significantly higher in the oral group (P<0.0001), with 33% of patients discharged alive. Conclusions: The clinical use of oral opioids using a single-center protocol is reported, suggesting that oral opioids may be practical and effective for dyspnea in patients with advanced heart failure.

PMID:37693229 | PMC:PMC10483112 | DOI:10.1253/circrep.CR-23-0059

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