The June 2006 edition of American Journal of Cardiology published a frightening study. The study sought to clarify whether loop diuretics improve outcomes in patients with heart failure. Loop diuretics are widely used for heart failure--the most commonly used loop diuretic is called furosemide, or frusemide. The brand name is Lasix. This is a very commonly prescribed medication for heart failure, I'm certain that some of my readers take this drug. The drug had not, up to this point, undergone a large clinical trial to demonstrate its efficacy. The researchers' findings were startling--they found a direct, dose-dependent increase in death rates with use of loop diuretics! Patients taking the highest dose of the drug were 4 times more likely than those taking the lowest amount to die during the study. Even after the researchers looked at 18 other factors that may have confounded the results, the association remained for decreased survival with use of loop diuretics. They concluded "In conclusion, in this cohort of patients with advanced heart failure, there was an independent, dose-dependent association between loop diuretic use and impaired survival." This is especially sad since heart failure is most often a preventable disease! Read the study here.