Desmopressin for the treatment of nocturnal polyuria in the elderly: a dose titration study

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To evaluate the decrease in nocturnal polyuria and the tolerability of three different doses of oral desmopressin in elderly subjects.

Subjects and methods

Subjects were included in the study if they; (i) were healthy and free from medication with possible influence on their diuresis or voiding pattern; (ii) had an increased nocturnal frequency (≥ 2 nocturnal voids, as reported in the pre-screening period); and (iii) had a nocturnal urinary output of ≥ 0.9 mL/min. Seventeen men and six women (mean age 68.1, SD 4.7 years) met these criteria and were treated with 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mg oral desmopressin given at bedtime, each dose taken for one week on three consecutive weeks.


The mean (SD) nocturnal diuresis before treatment was 1.6 (0.7) mL/min, which decreased significantly to 1.1 (0.4) mL/min when 0.1 mg desmopressin was given. A dose of 0.2 mg desmopressin resulted in a further small decrease in the nocturnal diuresis to 0.9 (0.4) mL/min, whereas the 0.4 mg dose produced no additional effect. The reduction in nocturnal diuresis occurred almost exclusively in the group with a nocturnal urinary output of ≥ 1.3 mL/min. After treatment, diuresis returned to pretreatment levels. There was no change in body weight or in ankle circumference during desmopressin treatment and no serious adverse effects were observed.


Desmopressin reduces nocturnal diuresis in polyuric elderly subjects and this reduction, occurring with doses of 0.1 mg given at bedtime, does not increase in a dose-dependent way.

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