The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of inhaled furosemide on the sensation of dyspnea produced during exercise in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a double-blind, randomized, crossover study we compared the effect of inhaled furosemide on dyspneic sensation during exercise testing with that of placebo. Spirometry and incremental and constant-load exercise testing were performed after inhalation of placebo or furosemide on 2 separate days in 19 patients with moderate or severe COPD. Subjects were asked to rate their sensation of respiratory discomfort using a 100-mm visual analog scale. There was significant improvement in mean FEV1 and FVC after inhalation of furosemide (p = 0.038 and 0.005, respectively) but not after placebo. At standardized exercise time during constant-load exercise testing but not during incremental exercise, the mean dyspneic visual analog scale score was lower after inhalation of furosemide compared with placebo (33.7 +/- 25.2 vs. 42.4 +/- 24.0 mm, respectively, p = 0.014). We conclude that inhalation of furosemide alleviates the sensation of dyspnea induced by constant-load exercise testing in patients with COPD and that there is significant bronchodilation after inhalation of furosemide compared with placebo in these patients.