Comparison of diuretics shows no difference in heart failure survival

Jan. 18, 2023
NIH-funded clinical trial underscores need for better treatments for deadly condition.

Two drugs widely used to treat adults with heart failure – furosemide and torsemide – showed no difference in their ability to improve patient survival when compared, according to findings from a clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health. The trial, one of the largest to date studying routine medications in heart failure, helps resolve a long-standing question about whether one drug is better than the other for treating this group of patients, who carry a high risk of death.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the trial, researchers studied 2,859 patients who had been hospitalized with heart failure at 60 medical centers across the United States. They randomly assigned them to a strategy of either furosemide or torsemide and followed them for an average of 17 months to track survival outcomes. The median age of the patients was 65 years. During the follow-up period, death occurred in 26.1% of those on torsemide and 26.2% of the patients on furosemide.

The trial participants were diverse and included a high proportion of women (36.9%) and Black Americans (33.9%), who are often underrepresented in clinical studies of heart failure.

NIH release