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Bedwetting Medicine for Children

If you have not seen results with the home remedies you have tried in an attempt to stop your child’s bedwetting, and if you are concerned they are not growing out of it as they get older, you might be considering taking the next step by asking a doctor about bedwetting medicine for kids.

Prescriping medication for a bedwetting problem in children is generally a last resort for a doctor, unless an underlying physical problem has been diagnosed.

Which medications are used for bedwetting?

Your doctor will provide you with specific advice about which types of medicines are advised. This can vary depending on where you live, your child’s age, and medical history.


This medication has shown success with children who bed wet. Up to half of all children who have used Imipramine have gone on to experience total dryness, and those who did not achieve complete dryness did show remarkable improvement. It should be noted however, that depending upon the studies, the success rate can be as low as 10%.

Imipramine was traditionally used as an anti-depressant, so just how it works to help stop bedwetting is still something that is not totally understood. The possible effects are believed to relate to a number of potential factors: by altering the pattern of sleep in a child, by helping them hold urine in the bladder for longer, or by reducing the volume of urine being produced. Any or all of these effects can significantly help a child with their bedwetting problem.

If a child is under 7 years old, he or she is very unlikely to be prescribed Imipramine. And like most medications, it is only effective while it is being taken, with bedwetting likely to occur again after stopping Imipramine. For that reason, using the medication alongside other forms of therapy is essential for long term success.

What about side effects?
Imipramine has shown to come with only minor possible side effects such as reduced appetite, irritbaility and insomnia, which are not experienced by the majority of children who use the drug for bedwetting and at the prescribed dosage.

Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP)

DDAVP aims to treat the symptoms bedwetting. Studies show that older children see the best results with DDAVP, while it has not been as effective in young children.
THe goal of this medicine is to slow down the production of urine during the night.

DDAVP works by essentially acting as a copy of a natural chemical in the body which controls the production of urine. DDAVP is believed to help with bedwetting by helping to reduce how much urine is produced during the night.

DDAVP can be taken in either of two forms: as a tablet, or as a nasal spray. The FDA no longer recommends that the nasal spray formula be used to treat bedwetting because of the higher risk of side effects. While some children can struggle with swallowing tablet, they are not only the safer method, but are also said to be the more effective option with studies showing a better response rate compared to those who used the nasal spray.

What about side effects?

If taking the nasal spray version of DDAVP, side effects can include discomfort in the, nosebleeds, and headaches. As mentioned above, the FDA does not recommend using the spray verison of DDAVP to treat a bed wetting problem due to potential side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

One rare but serious side effect noted is seizure which can result from using the medication along with intaking too much fluids on the same night. Care should be taken to keep fluid intake at normal levels when using DDAVP. This effect is known as water intoxication and can start as mild symptoms such as a headache and vomiting. If your child experiences these symptoms after taking DDAVP, notify your doctor right away.

Special care should be taken when giving DDAVP to children with ADHD. Due to the impulsive behavior of these children, their fluid intake needs to be monitored even closer when they are taking this medicaion to ensure that water intoxication does not occur.

DDAVP vs Imipramine For Bedwetting – Pros and Cons

Neither of these medications will cure bedwetting, but they can still provide considerable benefits to children who are not making progress with other treatments.
The reported positive response rates for both imipramine and DDAVP are similar. This means that they have both shown to be similarly effective in reducing the incidence of bedwetting.
DDAVP costs more than imipramine.


Bedwetting medications for children are rarely, if ever, a cure. They are prescribed to reduce severe symptoms when other methods have failed, but should not be thought of as a standalone cure. It can help to bring a severe bedwetting problem under control so that other remedies can be implemented; such as behavioral and device based training.

National Kidney Foundation

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