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Open Access Research article

An online survey of Australian physicians reported practice with the off-label use of nebulised frusemide

Phillip J Newton1*, Patricia M Davidson1, Christine Sanderson2 and on behalf of the Improving Palliative Care through Clinical Trials (ImPaCCT) group

Author affiliations

1 Centre for Cardiovascular & Chronic Care, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Health, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123 Broadway, Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia

2 Department of Palliative Care, Calvary Health Care, 91-111 Rocky Point Road, Beverley Park, Sydney, NSW, 2217, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Palliative Care 2012, 11:6  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-11-6

Published: 30 April 2012

Abstract

Background

Off-label prescribing is common in palliative care. Despite inconsistent reports of the benefit of nebulised frusemide for breathlessness, its use continues to be reported.

Methods

An online survey was emailed to 249 members of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine to estimate the use of nebulised frusemide for breathlessness by Australian physicians involved in palliative care in the previous 12 months.

Results

There were 52/249 (21%) respondents to the survey. The majority (44/52; 85%) had not prescribed nebulised frusemide in the previous 12 months. The most common (18/44; 43%) reason for not prescribing nebulised frusemide was a belief that there was not enough evidence to support its use. Whilst only a few respondents (8/52; 15%) reported having used nebulised frusemide, all that had used it thought there was at least some benefit in relieving breathlessness.

Conclusion

This report adds to the series of case studies reporting some benefit from nebulised frusemide in relieving breathlessnes.

Keywords:
Nebulised frusemide; Online survey; Off-label use