Take desmopressin exactly as your doctor tells you to.
Discuss with your doctor how much fluid you should drink each day.
There are several desmopressin preparations available. Each time you collect a prescription, check to make sure it looks the same as you've had before.
|Type of medicine||Vasopressin analogue|
|Used for||Diabetes insipidus
Nocturia (passing urine at night) associated with multiple sclerosis
Bedwetting in older children
Following surgery to remove the pituitary gland
Haemophilia, von Willebrand's disease and blood clotting tests
|Also called||DDAVP®; DesmoMelt®; Desmospray®; Desmotabs®; Octim®|
|Available as||Tablets, melt-in-the-mouth tablets, injection, nose drops and nose spray|
Desmopressin is used in several conditions. It is a vasopressin analogue, which means that it is similar to the naturally-occurring hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin is also called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH has an effect on your kidneys. It causes your kidneys to pass out less water in your urine, so your urine becomes more concentrated.
Diabetes insipidus is a condition in which your ability to control the balance of water within your body is not working properly. Your kidneys are not able to regulate how much water passes out in your urine as well as normal. If you have cranial diabetes insipidus, this happens because your brain is producing or releasing a reduced amount of ADH. Desmopressin has the same effect on your kidneys as ADH. It replaces the ADH that your body is lacking and so will help to control the amount of urine that you pass.
Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) means that a child passes urine in the night when they are asleep. Desmopressin works by reducing the amount of urine your child makes at night. There is a separate leaflet called Desmopressin for bedwetting which provides more information about this.
People with haemophilia or von Willebrand's disease have either a deficiency or a complete lack of some blood clotting factors, and therefore have problems with stopping bleeding. Desmopressin boosts the levels of these clotting factors and helps the blood to clot more efficiently.
Surgery on the pituitary gland in the brain can lead to over-production of urine. This is because ADH is normally released into your bloodstream from your pituitary gland. Desmopressin is commonly used following this type of surgery.
Before taking desmopressin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking desmopressin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart problems or blood vessel disease.
- If you have problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have high blood pressure, asthma, epilepsy or migraines.
- If you have cystic fibrosis.
- If you have an alcohol problem or addiction.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you are taking a diuretic (water tablet). You should also tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take desmopressin
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific preparation you have been given, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it. Not all the brands of desmopressin are suitable for all uses, so it is important that you read and follow the information that comes with your supply.
- Take desmopressin exactly as your doctor has told you. Your dose will depend upon the reason you are taking it. Your doctor will tell you what the correct dose is for you, and also how to take it. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
- If you have been given tablets to 'melt' in your mouth, place the tablet under your tongue and allow it to dissolve completely. If it breaks into pieces as you are taking it out of the packaging, this may mean that you do not receive the correct dose. If this happens, unwrap another tablet and do not use the broken one.
- If you are using intranasal solution, you will have been told how to measure out your dose. If you are still unsure, ask your pharmacist or practice nurse to show you again.
- If you have been given desmopressin spray, prime the spray before you use it for the first time, by pressing several times until you see a fine mist. To use the spray, tilt your head back slightly and place the nozzle just inside a nostril. Then hold your breath and press the spray once. Repeat this process in alternating nostrils until you have used the correct number of sprays.
- If you you miss taking a dose or if you take more doses than you should, speak with your doctor or practice nurse for advice.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Do not drink large quantities of fluids, as this can lead to a build-up of water in your body. Too much fluid may reduce the level of electrolytes (salts) in your body. This can sometimes cause serious symptoms like fits. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor how much fluid you should drink each day.
- If you are taking desmopressin for bedwetting or having to go to the toilet frequently during the night, it is important that you drink as little as possible from one hour before you take desmopressin to eight hours afterwards.
- If you are sick or get diarrhoea while you are taking desmopressin, you may need to miss out some doses until you are drinking normally again. Your doctor or practice nurse will be able to advise you about what to do.
- If you are a swimmer, it is important that you do not swallow water as you swim. Ask your doctor for advice about whether swimming is recommended for you.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking desmopressin.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with desmopressin.
Can desmopressin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Desmopressin side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Stomach pain, feeling or being sick||Stick to simple foods. If you continue to feel sick, speak with
your doctor or nurse for further advice - these may be signs
that your dose needs adjusting.
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller.
If the headache is severe or continues, speak with your doctor - these may be signs that your dose needs adjusting
|Increased weight, feeling confused||Let your doctor know. These may be signs that your dose needs adjusting.|
|With the nasal spray: nose bleeds, and runny or blocked nose||If this becomes troublesome, let your doctor know.|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store desmopressin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- The intranasal solution must be stored in a fridge.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, DDAVP® Melt 60 mcg, 120 mcg and 240 mcg oral lyophilisate; Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2008.
- Manufacturer's PIL, DDAVP® Tablets 0.1 mg and 0.2 mg; Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd., The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2008.
- Manufacturer's PIL, DDAVP®/Desmopressin Intranasal Solution; Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd., The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2008.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Desmospray®, Desmopressin Nasal Spray; Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd., The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2009.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Helen Huins|
|Last Checked: 31/10/2012||Document ID: 1412 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.