Desmopressin acetate is not indicated for the treatment of hemophilia A with factor VIII coagulant activity levels equal to or less than 5%, or for the treatment of hemophilia B, or in patients who have factor VIII antibodies .
Medically reviewed on September 3, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Endocrine-Metabolic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Vasopressin (class)
Uses For desmopressin
Desmopressin injection is used to treat bleeding in patients with hemophilia A or von Willebrand disease (Type I). It is also used to treat central cranial diabetes insipidus. This is a condition that causes the body to lose too much fluid and become dehydrated. Desmopressin injection is used to control frequent urination and increased thirst caused by certain types of brain injury or brain surgery.
Desmopressin is similar to a hormone that is produced in the body. It acts on the kidneys to reduce the flow of urine. For bleeding, desmopressin increases the blood levels of factor VIII and von Willebrand factor. This results in less bleeding for patients who have low levels of these agents.
Desmopressin is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using desmopressin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For desmopressin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to desmopressin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of desmopressin injection in children. However, the safety and efficacy of desmopressin injection have not been established for children younger than 12 years of age with diabetes insipidus, and for children younger than 3 months of age with hemophilia A or von Willebrand disease.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of desmopressin injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving desmopressin.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking desmopressin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using desmopressin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Opium Alkaloids
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of desmopressin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood clotting problems or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) or
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Coronary artery disease or
- Cystic fibrosis or
- Heart failure or
- Kidney problems or
- Polydipsia (excessive thirst), habitual or psychogenic—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
- Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), or history of or
- Kidney disease, moderate to severe or
- Type IIB von Willebrand disease—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper Use of desmopressin
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you desmopressin. Desmopressin is given as a shot under your skin or into a vein.
Desmopressin may be given at home to patients with diabetes insipidus who do not need to be in the hospital or clinic. If you are using desmopressin at home, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to prepare and inject the medicine. Be sure that you understand how to use the medicine.
You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas. This will help prevent skin problems from the injections.
Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
Your doctor may limit the amount of fluid or water you drink. Follow the instructions carefully to prevent unwanted effects.
The dose of desmopressin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of desmopressin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For injection dosage form (solution):
- For treatment of diabetes insipidus:
- Adults and children 12 years of age and older—0.5 to 1 milliliter (mL), divided into 2 doses and injected under the skin in the morning and evening. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed.
- Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment of diabetes insipidus:
If you miss a dose of desmopressin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
Precautions While Using desmopressin
It is very important that your doctor check you closely while you are receiving desmopressin. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Desmopressin lowers the amount of sodium in your blood. Check with your doctor right away if you have confusion, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or spasms, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Desmopressin may rarely cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using desmopressin.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Desmopressin Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- decreased urine output
- difficulty swallowing
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- increased thirst
- muscle pain or cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- skin rash, hives, itching
- swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- Chest pain or discomfort
- numbness of the hands
- pain or discomfort in arms, jaw, back, or neck
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach cramps
- pain in the vagina
- redness, swelling, or burning pain at the injection site
- Red, warm, or hot face
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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