How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

The tablet form of desmopressin belongs to the class of medications known as antidiuretics. It is a hormone taken by mouth to control excessive urination during the night for adults.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

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What form(s) does this medication come in?

Desmopressin ODT is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

For controlling excessive urination at night, the usual dose for adult women is one 25 µg tablet dissolved under the tongue 1 hour before bedtime. For adult men, the dose is one 50 µg tablet dissolved under the tongue 1 hour before bedtime. Do not chew or swallow the tablet.

You should limit your fluid intake for a few hours before taking this medication and for at least 8 hours after taking the medication. In addition, you should limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume during evening hours.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take desmopressin ODT if you:

  • are allergic to desmopressin or any ingredients of the medication
  • are using diuretics to treat other medical conditions
  • drink excessive amounts of fluid to purposely cause high urine production
  • have, or have had, a history of a low level of sodium in the blood
  • have a medical condition that causes slow blood clotting (e.g., type IIB or platelet type (pseudo) von Willebrand's disease)
  • have a medical condition that causes sodium to be lost from the body (eating disorders, chronic diarrhea or vomiting, adrenal problems)
  • have heart problems such as heart failure (cardiac insufficiency)
  • have moderate to severely reduced kidney function
  • have syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) secretion

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • back pain
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • nausea
  • tiredness

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • symptoms of a urinary tract infection (e.g. pain when urinating, urinating more often than usual, low back or flank pain)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of low blood sodium (e.g., unexpected weight gain, confusion, bad headache, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle cramps)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are any nutrients depleted by this medication?

Some medications can affect vitamin and nutrient levels in the body. Below is a list of nutrient depletions associated with this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether taking a supplement is recommended or if you have any questions or concerns.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Bladder problems: If you have severe bladder or voiding problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Cystic fibrosis: People with cystic fibrosis are more likely to develop hyponatremia (low blood sodium) than other individuals. If you have cystic fibrosis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Fluid and electrolyte balance: Fluid intake should be adjusted in order to reduce the possibility of water retention and low levels of sodium in the blood, especially for seniors. People who are dehydrated should wait until their water balance has been adequately restored before taking desmopressin. Seniors should be closely observed for possible water retention and low sodium in the blood due to excessive fluid intake. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your fluid intake to the amount that is right for you. For control of nighttime urination, a restricted fluid intake is recommended a few hours before using this medication.

Heart disease: Desmopressin can cause changes in heart rate and blood pressure. If you have any medical condition affecting your heart, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Short term illness: If you experience illness, such as infection, fever or diarrhea, stop taking desmopressin ODT. You may re-start the medication after the illness has passed.

Low sodium levels: Reduced fluid intake is essential with the use of desmopressin. When fluid intake is not reduced enough, fluid retention and possible low levels of sodium in the blood may result. If you experience symptoms of low blood sodium, such as headache, nausea or vomiting, weight gain, or muscle spasms or cramps, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Too little sodium in the body can become dangerous.

Medical conditions: Desmopressin is not effective in controlling excessive urination caused by kidney disease, diabetes, psychosomatic conditions, low blood potassium, or high blood calcium.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication may pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking desmopressin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Although the effectiveness of other forms of desmopressin have been found to be safe and effective for treating nocturnal enuresis, desmopressin ODT has not been studied for use by children. This medication should not be used by children or adolescents less than 18 years of age.

Seniors: People over the age of 65 may be at greater risk of developing low sodium levels.  Your doctor may want to monitor you sodium levels more closely. 

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between desmopressin ODT and any of the following:

  • carbamazepine
  • celecoxib
  • chlorpromazine
  • demeclocycline
  • lamotrigine
  • lithium
  • narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, duloxetine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • tramadol
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, trimipramine)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: