Desmotabs (desmopressin)

Desmotabs (desmopressin) is a manufactured version of the ADH (antidiuretic) hormone which regulates the volume of fluid the body holds. Its main ingredient is desmopressin and it is sometimes referred to as this. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Desmotabs (desmopressin) contains the active ingredient desmopressin acetate and are used to prevent urine leakage problems such as bed wetting, urinary incontinence and increased urinating due to excessive thirst. 

This is a man-made medicine which replicates the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) in the body. This hormone controls the level of fluid produced by the body, in particular, urine.  Desmotabs (desmopressin) are suitable for adults up to 65 years of age and children over 5 years of age. 

What is Desmotabs (desmopressin)? 

Desmotabs (desmopressin) is a manufactured version of the ADH (antidiuretic) hormone which regulates the volume of fluid the body holds. Its main ingredient is desmopressin and it is sometimes referred to as this.  

Desmotabs (desmopressin) is stronger than the natural ADH the body produces, making it effective for adults and children who have problems with urine leakage. This usually occurs in children during the night as bed wetting. It can also happen in adults who need to go to the toilet frequently during the night, often because the bladder cannot hold its capacity of urine overnight. However, Desmotabs (desmopressin) can also be used for excessive urination during the day too. Normally, the brain produces ADH hormones and stores them in the pituitary gland. When the body’s water level becomes low the pituitary gland releases ADH which tells the kidneys not to filter too much water out of the body. This ensures the natural water levels required by the body are maintained. 

If there is an imbalance in the ADH hormone then the kidneys may not function correctly and therefore produce an excess of urine. This can cause children to wet the bed or adults to have an increased urge to go to the toilet. This usually happens at night, as we urinate more frequently during the day.   An ADH deficiency also causes a person to be excessively thirsty, and if they drink lots this creates the desire to urinate more often. 

The chemical structure of desmopressin is similar to that of the natural ADH hormone that the body produces. When a person takes Desmotabs (desmopressin) the desmopressin joins to the ADH receptors in the kidneys, mimicking the effect of ADH and causing the body to produce less urine and restore its natural water balance. Whilst this medicine does not cure excessive urination it can contribute to treating the symptoms of this problem. 

When is Desmotabs (desmopressin) used? 

Desmotabs (desmopressin) is used to bring relief from various excess urination problems. Bedwetting in children – the official name for this condition is nocturnal enuresis. Enuresis means urinary incontinence. It occurs when a child involuntarily passes urine during their sleep and they may not wake up when doing so. There are many reasons this can occur, but as a child gets older it can become a problem. 

Desmotabs (desmopressin) can be used for children over 5 years of age to prevent them from wetting the bed during the night. This can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing problem both for young and older children.  Desmotabs (desmopressin) is also used to treat some other conditions in adults too, for example: Cranial diabetes insipidus – when the body produces excess urine which is caused by a shortage of the ADH in the body. 

You should seek a medical check up to exclude other causes of increased urination and only take this if suggested by your physician. Older men can also experience urine leakage (also known as urinary incontinence) due to an enlarged prostate gland pressing on the bladder and causing a need to urinate frequently.  

If you suspect you have any of the above conditions you should talk to a doctor. You should not take Desmotabs (desmopressin) if you are over 65 years of age. 

How do you use Desmotabs (desmopressin)? 

For bed wetting Desmotabs (desmopressin) is taken orally with a little water an hour before going to bed. No further liquids should be drunk after taking a tablet until morning, or for at least 8 hours, whichever is the soonest.  You should not drink too much fluid when taking this medicine as this could lead to fluid retention in the body which can be dangerous as it dilutes the salt in the body and can cause convulsions. This includes not drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. It is also important to avoid taking in and swallowing water when swimming if taking this medicine as this could cause a buildup of water in the body. 

Desmopressin is also available as a nasal spray. However, it is more convenient and comfortable for children to take it as a tablet and it is also more common to take it in tablet form.  

Adults should always follow the advice of their doctor before taking Desmotabs (desmopressin). 

What dosages are there? 

Desmotabs (desmopressin) come in 0.2mg tablet form in packs of 30 tablets. The usual dosage is one tablet every 24 hours, for as long as prescribed. To control bedwetting it is advisable to take Desmotabs (desmopressin) for a period of 3 months and then a doctor should review the situation. If the frequency of the bed wetting has not changed the doctor may decide to increase the dose to two tablets per day.  

This may also apply to adult urination problems if one tablet is not sufficient. However, an increase in the dosage must only be taken on the advice of a doctor. Do not exceed the prescribed dose. If you miss a dose of Desmotabs (desmopressin) you should wait until the next dose and then take this as normal. 

What are the side effects of Desmotabs (desmopressin)? 

As with all medicines, Desmotabs (desmopressin) may cause side effects for some people. The possible side effects are: 

  • Headache 
  • Stomachache 
  • Feeling sick or vomiting 
  • Fluid retention 
  • Confusion 
  • Unexplained weight gain 
  • Behaviour disturbance in children (rare) 

These side effects are listed for information only. This does not mean you will definitely experience any of them if you take Desmotabs (desmopressin).  If you do experience any side effects they may only be mild until your body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you are concerned about side effects stop taking this medicine and talk to a doctor or ask the advice of a pharmacist. 

When shouldn’t you use Desmotabs (desmopressin)? 

You should not take Desmotabs (desmopressin) if you: 

  • Have serious heart problems 
  • Have kidney disease 
  • Take diuretics (medicines that increase the production of urine) 
  • Have high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or are taking medication for this condition 
  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the package leaflet 
  • Are under 5 or over 65 years of age 
  • If you drink a lot of liquids, including alcohol 

You should not use Desmotabs (desmopressin) if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant without consulting a doctor.  If you are pregnant, monitoring of the blood pressure is recommended when taking this medicine due to the increased risk of pre-eclampsia (a pregnancy complication symptoms of which include swelling due to the build-up of fluid which is known as oedema). 

This medicine may pass into breast milk, therefore, it is advisable to ask your doctor or pharmacist for their advice before taking it. It is important to inform your doctor or pharmacist of any other medicines you are taking, including herbal medicines, before you take Desmotabs (desmopressin). This medicine does not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. 

Does Desmotabs (desmopressin) interact with other medication? 

As with all medicines, Desmotabs (desmopressin) may interact with other medication you are taking.  It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking before taking Desmotabs (desmopressin), no matter what they are. 

You should advise your doctor before taking Desmotabs (desmopressin) if: 

  • You have cystic fibrosis 
  • You are on epilepsy medication 
  • You are taking loperamide for diarrhoea 
  • You have a medical condition causing fluid and/or electrolyte disturbance 
  • You have a medical condition that could be made worse by fluid and/or electrolyte disturbance 
  • You are taking antidepressant medication 
  • You are taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) 

There are some medicines that can increase the release of the ADH hormone in the body and could increase the effect Desmotabs (desmopressin) has. This includes some antidepressant medicines and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Combining some of this group of medicines with Desmotabs (desmopressin) could increase the risk of fluid retention and lead to a low concentration of sodium in the blood. 

Where can you buy Desmotabs (desmopressin)? 

Desmotabs (desmopressin) can only be prescribed by a doctor. You cannot buy it over the counter in a pharmacy. 

Can  I get Desmotabs (desmopressin) without a prescription? 

No, you cannot get Desmotabs (desmopressin) without a prescription. 




Desmotabs (desmopressin) (desmopressin). October 15, 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2019 from (desmopressin)-desmopressin/ 

National Kidney Foundation. Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP). (n.d.) Retrieved 26 June 2019 from

Package leaflet. Desmotabs (desmopressin) 0.2mg Desmopressin Acetate. November 2007. Retrieved 26 June, 2019 from (desmopressin)-uk.pdf-1510756508.pdf  

Treatment. Diabetes insipidus. Desmopressin. April 2, 2019. Retrieved 26 June from 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.