What is DDAVP (desmopressin)?

DDAVP (desmopressin) is used for treating increased thirst and urination triggered by head surgery or head trauma and to treat central cranial diabetes insipidus. It is also used for treating hemophilia A or von Willebrand’s disease Type I. however it is no longer used to control nighttime bedwetting in children because of its increased risk of developing the side effect of a low sodium level in the blood.

Important Information

It is important you reduce your consumption of water and other fluids while using DDAVP as too much of water can lead to your body losing sodium. This consequently leads to a serious and life-threatening electrolyte imbalance in the body.

Follow doctor’s instructions on the amount and type of liquids you should drink.

Do not use DDAVP if you have severe kidney disease or if you have ever suffered from hyponatremia or low sodium body levels.

Do inform your doctor about any heart disease, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, high or low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance or psychological disorders you may suffer that cause unusual or extreme thirst.

Desmopressin nasal spray is not so effective if you have any scars or swelling in your nose or if you have any nasal or sinus problems like deviated septum. Inform your doctor about it so that your doctor can adjust your treatment and dosage accordingly.

To ensure desmopressin is working at treating your condition, you have to test your blood often so that your doctor can determine how long you need its treatment. So do not miss blood tests and scheduled appointments.

Do inform your doctor about any allergies you have, or if you are allergic to desmopressin before using DDAVP as the drug may have inactive ingredients that may trigger allergic reactions.

Reduce your alcoholic consumption as it can interfere with the working of desmopressin.

If you have lost too much body water (become dehydrated), your doctor will correct that condition first before starting treatment with desmopressin.

Immediately inform your doctor if you develop any illness that creates water/mineral imbalance in the body like fever, flu or diarrhea or if you experience conditions that prompt drinking of more fluids like very hot weather, persistent sweating and strenuous exercise so that your doctor can stop or adjust your treatment.

Children and adults are more sensitive to the side effects of DDAVP. DDAVP should be avoided during pregnancy and used only if clearly needed. As it is not known if DDAVP passes into breast milk, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

The DDAVP nasal pumps deliver 50 doses of 10 micrograms each. So any solution that remains after 50 doses should be discarded as whatever amount is delivered is less than 10 micrograms of the drug. Do not transfer the solution to another bottle too and keep track of how many sprays you use from each bottle of desmopressin.

What should I know before taking DDAVP?

DDAVP is only for intranasal use.

Use DDAVP as per your doctor’s prescription and do not use in larger amount s or longer than recommended.

The drug comes with patient instructions for its safe and effective use. Follow directions thoroughly, and if required, clear your doubts with your doctor and pharmacist.

Make sure you prime the spray pump by pressing down its pump 4 times before using it for the first time.


DDAVP nasal spray is available as an aqueous solution for intranasal use where each ml contains sodium chloride, disodium phosphate dehydrate, benzalkonium chloride solution, citric acid monohydrate and desmopressin acetate.

How it Works

DDAVP helps control the amount of urine your body makes. It is the vasopressin in your body that actually controls the amount of urine you make. However in people suffering from head injury, brain surgery or water diabetes, their body produces insufficient vasopressin. Desmopressin is a man-made form of vasopressin that helps replace the low levels of vasopressin to thus control increased thirst and urination and helps prevent dehydration.


The dosage for DDAVP is determined for each patient based on their diurnal pattern of response, which depends on the amount of sleep and sufficient water turnover.  The usual dosage is 0.1 to 0.4ml daily for adults as a single dose or divided into 2-3 doses. For children aged between 3 months to 12 years, the dosage ranges between 0.05 to 0.3 ml daily, as a single dose or divided into two doses.


As DDAVP can interact with any medication you take, you have to inform your doctor about any prescription, non-prescription and over the counter medication you take. Moreover, other medications like narcotic pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychiatric drugs, SSRI antidepressants, water pills and tricyclic antidepressants can affect the balance of water and sodium in your body.

You have to inform your doctor if you smoke, use illegal drugs or drink lots of alcoholic or caffeinated drinks as they can affect the way your medicine works. However you have to consult with your doctor before stopping, starting or changing any of your medications.

Side effects of DDAVP Nasal (Desmopressin)

  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Headache and weakness;
  • Eye redness or watering;
  • Hot or cold feeling;
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
  • Warmth, tingly feeling and redness in face;
  • Eye itching and increased sensitivity to light;
  • Feeling dizzy or agitated.

You have to seek immediate medical help if you experience these signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of face, tongue, throat or lips

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in DDAVP

Desmopressin is a man-made hormone that is used to control the amount of urine your kidneys make. It is used to control increased thirst and too much of urination in patients suffering from water diabetes or diabetes insipidus and some kinds of head injury or brain surgery. It is however no longer used to control nighttime bedwetting children as it increases the risk of developing a low sodium level in the blood.

How does DDAVP work?

Desmopressin helps replace the low level of vasopressin in people suffering from water diabetes and some kinds of head injury or brain surgery to control the amount of urine their kidneys make. DDAVP thus helps control increased thirst and excessive urination to prevent dehydration.

Are there any drugs I can’t take in combination with DDAVP?

As any drugs you take may interact with the working of DDAVP, it is important that you disclose all the prescription, non-prescription and over the counter medication you take to your doctor before starting DDAVP. The drugs you have to specifically avoid with DDAVP are gemfibrozil, fosamax, lexapro, cortef, clonazepam, actos, metformin, phenergan, pristiq and synthroid.

Can DDAVP cause allergic reactions? If so, what are the signs?

DDAVP can cause allergic reactions. So inform your doctor immediately if you notice hives, breathing problems or swelling of the throat, lips, face or tongue.