In general, medication should only be prescribed as a last resort due to the fact that drugs have side effects and they only cure the symptoms. This type of treatment works well for short term bedwetting relief, especially in certain social situations: going camping, spending the night to a friend’s house, etc…However, most kids will continue wetting the bed after they stop taking the medicine.
Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) is a synthetic copy of a body chemical that reduces the amount of urine produced by the body during night time. The effect lasts for up to 12 hours. Several studies show that older children and children with a family history of bedwetting are the ones that will benefit the most from using this drug. It’s important to know that DDAVP, like all other similar drugs, doesn’t cure bedwetting, but only ameliorates the symptoms.
The Desmopressin Acetate comes as a tablet and as a spray. The preferable method is the tablet, since it has a better response rate and it makes it easier for the child to take the medicine without others noticing it. The nasal version of the medicine is not as effective due to the fact that the spray can be affected by the mucus in the nose.
The drug works instantaneously and it is best used right before going to bed.
Side Effects. In most children, the side effects are not noticeable. However, common side effects include headaches, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting. In rare cases, kids may experience a seizure due to water intoxication. This is easily avoidable by not drinking a lot of water prior to taking the medication. If you think your child is getting sick from taking the drug, contact your doctor immediately.
Imipramine is usually used to treat depression but it also works on providing temporary bedwetting relief. Like all medications, Imipramine does not cure the condition and if the treatment is stopped, there is a 85% chance wetting the bed will reoccur.
There is not enough data to show why Imipramine works on curing bedwetting, but it’s believed that the drug improves the quality of sleep, it reduces the amount of urine produced and it relaxes the bladder. Studies show that older kids (7+) have a better response to the treatment.
Side Effects. Even though most kids won’t experience any adverse reaction, keep an eye on minor side effects, such as insomnia, drowsiness and loos of appetite. If any of these occur, either have your child stop talking the medication or cut down the dosage. In some rare cases, overdosing with Imipramine can lead to death, so make sure to keep the medication out of children’s reach.
Oxybutynin is an anticholinergic drug that reduces bladder contractions and increases bladder capacity. In most children, taking only Oxybutynin is not enough, and the drug is usually taken together with DDAVP (the Oxybutynin increases bladder capacity and the DDAVP reduces the amount of urine produced by the body).
Side effects: dry mouth, dry eyes, nausea, headaches
Both Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) and Imipramine have the same success rate and out of the three drugs, the Oxybutynin is the least effective.
Also, DDAVP has less side effects, is not as toxic but it’s also the most expensive.