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Congest Heart Fail. 2003 Sep-Oct;9(5):287-92.

Pharmacotherapy in congestive heart failure: drug absorption in the management of congestive heart failure: loop diuretics.

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1
Department of Medicine, Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension, Division of Nephrology, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0160, USA. dsica@hsc.vcu.edu

Abstract

Congestive heart failure is a disease state distinguished by the regular presence of both renal and hepatic abnormalities in drug handling. One such abnormality involves flaws in the process of drug absorption. In most instances, congestive heart failure-related abnormalities in drug absorption are of inconsequential significance. However, this is not the case with loop diuretics. Loop diuretic action ordinarily tracks the rate and extent of absorption if a sufficient amount of diuretic has been given to exceed the threshold for diuretic effect. In congestive heart failure, both the rate and absolute amount of loop diuretic absorbed can be reduced as a function of the heart failure state itself. In this setting, drug dissolution characteristics can assume added significance. Furosemide is the loop diuretic with the widest intra- and interpatient variability of absorption. Alternatively, the loop diuretic torsemide is rapidly and fairly completely absorbed independent of the heart failure state. This pattern of absorption establishes it as the preferred loop diuretic in the otherwise diuretic-resistant heart failure patient. However, the exact role of torsemide in the outpatient management of congestive heart failure remains to be determined.

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