Desmopressin (Injection Route)

1 Desmopressin (Injection Route): A Summary

Brand Name:


Desmopressin injection, marketed as DDAVP, is an antidiuretic hormone used to treat bleeding in hemophilia A or von Willebrand disease patients. Other indications for desmopressin injection are central cranial diabetes insipidus and frequent urination due to brain injury or brain surgery. 

It works against bleeding by increasing von Willebrand factor and factor VIIIm, and it reduces the flow of urine by acting on the kidneys. It is only available with a prescription, and you can buy it as a solution.

2 What to Know Before Using

You must discuss the risks and benefits involved in using desmopressin injection before agreeing to treatment. To make sure that this medicine is the right fit for you, you need to consider a number of factors. You should not receive desmopressin injections if you’ve had allergic reactions to it in the past. 

You also need to inform your doctor about any other allergies be it to food, dyes, animals, or other medications. Studies have shown that desmopressin injection is safe to use in children ages 12 years and older with diabetes insipidus and in children older than 3 months with von Willebrand disease or hemophilia A. 

Adequate studies have found that desmopressin injection is safe to use in geriatric patients and does not cause any age-specific effects although age-related kidney problems may require a dose adjustment. This medicine has a pregnancy category of B which means that studies have shown that desmopressin injection does not present a risk to the fetus and it poses little risk to breastfeeding infants. 

Give your physician a complete list of your medications and ask if you need to avoid any kind of food. Also, you should inform your healthcare provider if you have the following conditions: 

3 Proper Usage

Desmopressin injection must be administered by a nurse. It is a shot given into a vein or under your skin. For patients with diabetes insipidus, this medication may be given at home. Your doctor or nurse can demonstrate how to give self-injections. 

If you are confused about how to do it, ask your healthcare provider. It is important that you understand the steps clearly. They will also show you where to give the shots. You should remember to use different sites every time so that skin problems do not develop. Follow your doctor’s instructions if he/she asks you to decrease your fluid intake. 

The dosage will depend on your condition. So it’s different for each individual. Adults and children with diabetes insipidus should get 0.5 to 1 mL divided into 2 doses, preferably in the morning and evening. If you forgot a shot, give yourself the dose as soon as you remember. 

However, you should skip it if it’s almost time for the next shot. Store the solution in the fridge and not in the freezer. When you throw away syringes and needles, use a puncture-proof container.

4 Precautions to Take

You must go to your follow-up appointments religiously so that your doctor can keep an eye on your condition and prevent any side effects. He/she may also need to order some blood work or other laboratory exams just to see if the medicine is working properly. 

If it isn’t, it may need to be changed. There are precautions you also need to take while receiving desmopressin injections. You should guard against sodium loss. Consult your doctor if you have nausea, confusion, vomiting, unusual tiredness, or muscle cramps or spasms. This medication can also cause anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction. 

Get medical help immediately if you have a rash, trouble breathing, itching, trouble swallowing, or swelling of your hands, face, or mouth. This condition can be life-threatening. Lastly, do not take any kind of over-the-counter medication or supplement without consulting with your doctor first.

5 Potential Side Effects

Desmopressin injection can also cause various side effects although you may only experience some of them. Rare side effects that may need medical treatment include: 

  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • difficulty swallowing
  • coughing
  • decreased urine output
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • nausea/vomiting
  • tightness in the chest
  • numbness of the hands
  • unusual tiredness
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, or 
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands

Common side effects that may not need treatment include abdominal/stomach cramps, pain in the vagina, or redness, swelling, or burning pain at the injection site. Consult your doctor right away if your condition does not improve or if it becomes worse.

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