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Bedwetting medication: Desmopressin (DDAVP)

Dr. D. Preston Smith
Author Dr. D. Preston Smith
Submitted 10-10-2007

The Potty Trainer

Desmopressin is an antiduretic hormone that when given at night is supposed to decrease urine production while the child sleeps. Understandably, children who make less urine at night are less likely to wet. It is a relatively safe medication with few significant side effects. Few children have developed severe electrolyte problems (examples = sodium and potassium ) when taking this medication. It is a prescription medication and it should not be used without full consent from your child’s physician.


Desmopressin is available as a tablet and is quite expensive. Some children may need to take the medication for several months in order to gain full benefit. Parents should not expect a high success rate with this drug if nothing else is done about their child’s bedwetting problem.


The published success rates for desmopressin range from 10-60%. Most physicians believe the medication cures bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) in about 20% of children. Once the medication is stopped, chance of relapse is high. For this reason, some children may need to take the medication for several months.


Desmopressin is very helpful for the child who is about to go to camp or have a sleep over and for whom a “quick fix” is needed. This medication is the only drug that offers a quick response time suitable for these types of situations. While using desmopressin, it may be wise to add a bedwetting alarm, reward system, treat underlying potty habits, or wake the child during the night in order to get the best results.


– Dr. D. Preston Smith


Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.