Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2010 Dec;13(4):252-256.

Applying Inhaled Furosemide for Refractory Breathlessness in Terminally-ill Cancer Patients: Based on Seminar of Palliative Medicine Research Group, The Korean Academy of Family Medicine

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Gachon University Gil Hospital, Incheon, Korea. zaduplum@aim.com
  • 2Palliative Medicine Research Group, The Korean Academy of Family Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Breathlessness is a frequent and distressing symptom in terminal cancer patients. Refractory breathlessness is defined as a state that does not respond to conventional disease-specific therapy with an exclusion of reversible underlying causes, and the main classes of symptomatic drug treatments include opioids and benzodiazepines. Korean Family Medicine Palliative Medicine Research Group discussed two terminal cancer patients in whom severe breathlessness with different causes were treated with inhalation of nebulized furosemide, which is an emerging option of palliative treatment. It still remains unclear how it becomes effective or how much it is effective, therefore, its routine use seems to be somewhat early. Nevertherless, if a patient with intractable breathlessness does not have a marked obstructive airway lesion, its use should be considered. Based on the discussion in the seminar, we want to share our experience of the application of inhaled furosemide with other palliative care practitioners and strongly recommend further research on this topic in the future.


Dyspnea; Furosemide; Neoplasms
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