Renal effects of L-DOPA in heart failure

Ehud Grossman*, Alla Shenkar, Edna Peleg, Michael Thaler, David S. Goldstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We examined whether low-dose L-DOPA treatment induces natriuresis and diuresis in patients with congestive heart failure who have cardiac decompensation despite treatment with digoxin, a diuretic, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and who respond acutely to intravenously infused dopamine. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled crossover study, 11 patients with severe congestive heart failure received L-DOPA (0.10 g, p.o., t.i.d., for 1 day and then 0.25 g, p.o., t.i.d., for 2 days after a washout period of ≥ 1 day), with assessments of plasma and urinary levels of catechols, urinary volume, and sodium content, and clinical and laboratory measures of improvement of congestive heart failure. L-DOPA elicited short-term, dose-related increases in urinary volume and sodium excretion. At the 0.10-g dose, L-DOPA increased plasma L-DOPA levels and urinary, L-DOPA excretion by about fivefold, whereas at the 0.25- g dose, L-DOPA increased plasma and urinary L-DOPA by >50-fold. Twenty-four- hour urinary dopamine excretion increased by about fivefold after the low dose of L-DOPA and ~50-fold after the high dose. The results demonstrate that oral L-DOPA treatment can produce beneficial natriuretic and diuretic effects in selected patients with congestive heart failure. The bioavailability of oral L-DOPA appears to vary with the dose. These results support findings from previous studies about beneficial cardiac functional effects of L-DOPA in patients with refractory heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-928
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeZ01NS002979


    • Congestive heart failure
    • Diuresis
    • Dopamine
    • L-DOPA
    • Natriuresis


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