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Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 16679-58-6
ATC code H01BA02
PubChem 5311065
DrugBank BTD00112
Chemical data
Formula C46H64N14O12S2 
Mol. mass 1069.22 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability Variable; 0.08–0.16% (oral)
Protein binding 50%
Metabolism  ?
Half life 1.5–2.5 hours
Excretion Renal
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

B2(AU) B(US)

Legal status

POM(UK) -only(US)

Routes IV, IM, SC, intranasal, oral

Desmopressin (trade names: DDAVP, Stimate, Minirin) is a synthetic replacement for antidiuretic hormone, the hormone that reduces urine production during sleep. It may be taken nasally, intravenously, or as a pill. Doctors prescribe Desmopressin most frequently as a bedwetting treatment.

In December 2007, US drug regulators banned using Desmopressin nasal sprays for treating bedwetting, but said that Desmopressin pills are still a safe bedwetting treatment for otherwise healthy patients. The regulators reviewed the drug after two children using Desmopressin nasal sprays died from Hyponatremia, an imbalance of sodium levels in the body. [1]



Desmopressin (1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin) is a modified form of the normal human hormone arginine vasopressin, a peptide containing nine amino acids.

Compared to vasopressin, desmopressin's first amino acid has been deaminated, and the arginine at the eighth position is in the dextro rather than the levo form (see stereochemistry).

Mode of action

Desmopressin works by limiting the amount of water that is eliminated in the urine.

Desmopressin binds to V2 receptors in renal collecting ducts, increasing water resorption. It also stimulates release of factor VIII from endothelial cells due to stimulation of the V1a receptor.

Desmopressin is degraded more slowly than recombinant vasopressin, and requires less frequent administration. In addition, it has little effect on blood pressure, while vasopressin may cause arterial hypertension.

Bedwetting Treatment

Doctors prescribe Desmopressin most frequently as a bedwetting treatment. It is usually in the form of Desmopressin acetate, DDAVP. Patients taking DDAVP are 4.5 times more likely to stay dry than those taking a placebo. [2] The drug replaces the antidiuretic hormone for a single night with no cumulative effect.

US drug regulators banned treating bedwetting with Desmopressin nasal sprays after two children died and 59 other patients suffered seizures. The patients were using Desmopressin when they developed Hyponatremia, an imbalance of the body's sodium levels. [3]

FDA regulators said that Desmopressin pills could still be considered safe for bedwetting treatment, as long as the patient was otherwise healthy. Patients must stop taking Desmopressin if they become sick and have severe vomiting and diarrhea, fever, the flu, or severe cold. They should also be very cautious during hot weather or following strenuous exercise that may make them thirsty.

This is because Desmopressin works by limiting the amount of water that is eliminated in the urine. A healthy body needs to maintain a balance of water and salt (sodium). If sodium levels fall too much (hyponatremia), a person may have seizures and, in extreme cases, may die. [4]

Other Uses

Desmopressin is also used to reduce urine production in central diabetes insipidus patients and to promote the release of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII in patients with coagulation disorders such as type I von Willebrand disease, mild hemophilia A, and thrombocytopenia. Desmopressin is not effective in the treatment of hemophilia B or severe hemophilia A.

It has also seen interest as a possible nootropic.

Side effects

Desmopressin nasal is in the FDA pregnancy category B. Drugs in this category are not expected to harm an unborn baby.

See also


  • Leissinger C, Becton D, Cornell C Jr, Cox Gill J. High-dose DDAVP intranasal spray (Stimate) for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with mild haemophilia A, mild or moderate type 1 von Willebrand disease and symptomatic carriers of haemophilia A. Haemophilia 2001;7:258-66. PMID 11380629.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Desmopressin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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