A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of desmopressin for nocturia in adults

Mark H. Ebell, Taylor Radke, Jack Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose We systematically reviewed desmopressin as treatment for nocturia in generally healthy adults with a focus on benefits and harms. Materials and Methods After a literature search we identified 10 articles (2,191 patients) that met our inclusion criteria of parallel group design, randomized, controlled trials with information on at least 1 benefit or harm of desmopressin in patients with nocturia. We evaluated the quality of included trials based on The Cochrane Collaboration criteria, assessed heterogeneity using the I2 statistic and performed random effects meta-analysis. Results Studies were generally of high quality, although 4 used an active run-in period to titrate the dose and exclude patients with adverse effects or who were nonresponders. Thus, they were at high risk for bias. Desmopressin doses of at least 25 mcg or greater decreased nocturnal voids and increased time to first void. A dose of 100 mcg provided just more than an hour of additional sleep before the first void compared with placebo as well as 0.72 fewer voids per night. Higher doses provided no significant increase in benefit. Hyponatremia (RR 5.1) and headache (RR 4.3) were the most common adverse effects. Serious adverse effects were rare. Conclusions Desmopressin appears to offer a modest benefit for treating nocturia in generally healthy adults with adequate safety. The initial dose should be between 50 and 100 mcg. Higher doses should only be used with caution and a lower initial dose of 25 to 50 mcg is appropriate in elderly patients. All patients should be monitored for hyponatremia. The drug should be used with caution in patients with chronic lung disease due to the rare occurrence of respiratory failure. Additional well designed, adequately powered studies 1 or more years in duration are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • deamino arginine vasopressin
  • drug effects
  • nocturia
  • review
  • urinary bladder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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