Does DDAVP Help Treat Bed-wetting?

The use of DDAVP in treating bed-wetting has been controversial over the years, but it has been shown effective in helping kids stay dry for periods of time away from home such as sleepovers, camps, and other times when the use of a bed-wetting alarm may not be effective.

What Is DDAVP?

DDAVP stands for desmopressin, and also goes by the names of stimate and minirin.  It is a synthetic drug that is used as a replacement for the hormone vasopressin, which reduces urine production especially at night.  It can be found administered in a nasal spray, tablet form or even intravenously.

The drug DDAVP was first developed in the 1960’s by a Czech scientist named Zaoral Milan. The first tablets marketed carried the name “SD-Adiuretin Spofa.”

Controversy Surrounding DDAVP

For years, the drug was routinely prescribed in a nasal mist solution.  In fact, this was one of the most common, and fastest, ways to administer it.  However, after two children died and many more developed seizures because of a severe reaction which caused an inbalance of sodium levels in the body, the use of the nasal spray to deliver DDAVP was banned in the U.S.

Tablet form does of DDAVP are still prescribed and are approved as long as the patient is in relatively good health.

Does DDAVP Work?

According to the drug companies and research, children who take DDAVP are 4.5 times as likely to stay dry than those who do not.  DDAVP is usually prescribed when the use of a bed-wetting alarm is impractical.  DDAVP is usually taken for short periods and then discontinued thereafter.

Many older children may be embarrassed to use an absorbent underpant like Goodnites or Underjams, and so DDAVP can provide some temporary relief from bedwetting at camp or family vacations.  Care should be taken using DDAVP in extremely hot situations, however, since the drug regulates the amount of water in urine, it can easily throw the balance of sodium in the body off-balance, causing side-effects.

Side Effects of DDAVP

Some of the side effects include: headaches, flushing of the face, seizures, hyponatremia, nausea and sodium deficiency. If a child becomes severely ill with vomiting, diarrhea, flu or a severe cold, consult a physician immediately.

If DDAVP is deemed right for your child to handle bed-wetting, there are even new “melt tabs” that administer the drug orally.