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Opioids for symptomatic therapy of dyspnoea in patients with advanced chronic heart failure--is there evidence?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946)
Publication Date
Volume
159
Issue
23-24
Pages
577–582
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10354-009-0726-0
PMID: 20151346
Source
Medline

Abstract

In times of reduced mortality from myocardial infarction and ageing of the population, the number of patients suffering from chronic heart failure continues to rise. In spite of optimal cardiological treatment, many patients suffer from dyspnoea. The use of commonly used drugs in palliative care such as opioids for the relief of dyspnoea is uncommon in this group of patients. We conducted a limited systematic literature research in order to find out if there is evidence for the use of any systemic pharmacological substance for the symptomatic relief of dyspnoea in chronic heart failure patients. Three randomised controlled trials with opioids could be identified. The quality of the identified studies does not support the avoidance of the use of opioids in patients with chronic heart failure to relieve dyspnoea. But further studies are recommended to support the use of opioids in patients with chronic heart failure for relief of breathlessness to improve the quality of life of this growing population.

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