Inhaled furosemide does not alleviate respiratory effort during flow-limited exercise in healthy subjects

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2008;21(1):196-200. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2007.02.003. Epub 2007 Mar 6.


Expiratory muscle loading results in increased perception of respiratory effort; this response is mediated by non-vagal reflexes originating in the chest wall. Furosemide, due to its vagal effect, might not affect the perception of respiratory effort during expiratory flow-limited incremental exercise. In this study, we compared in nine healthy subjects the following determinants of exercise performance such as respiratory effort (Borg), workload (W'), ventilation (V'E), tidal volume (VT), respiratory frequency (f), and mean inspiratory flow (VT/TI), an index of central respiratory drive, during either standard incremental cycling exercise, or expiratory flow-limited incremental exercise. In addition we examined the effect of inhaled placebo, furosemide (40 or 80 mg) on the perception of respiratory effort following standard incremental cycling exercise and expiratory flow-limited incremental exercise. Compared with standard incremental cycling exercise, expiratory flow-limited incremental exercise increased the Borg score and VT/Ti, and decreased W',V'E ,VT, and f in all subjects at iso-workload. Neither placebo nor furosemide modified peak ventilatory variables, slopes, or intercepts of the relationships of the Borg score with W', V'E, VT/TI and VT during expiratory flow-limited incremental exercise. We conclude that (a) compared with standard incremental exercise, expiratory flow limited exercise increases central respiratory drive and perception of respiratory effort, and (b) furosemide does not affect the sensation of respiratory effort under the present conditions of increased drive to the respiratory muscles.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diuretics / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiration / drug effects*
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Diuretics
  • Furosemide