Medications to Treat Bed Wetting
No one medication is able to
cure bed wetting.
The good news is that most children do
tend to outgrow the habit of bed wetting. As they grow and
mature, the muscles of a child’s bladder get stronger and
therefore so do their ability to control their bladder
functions. As well they do not tend to fall into as deep a
sleep every night as they did when they were toddlers. Children
often become more attuned to the brain’s message that the
bladder needs to be emptied. In
the meantime if bed wetting is a consistent and embarrassing
problem for a child there are medications that can be
prescribed by a doctor to help treat the problem.
The first drug that appeared on the market to help bed
wetting was Imipramine (Tofranil). This drug helps to encourage
a child’s restful sleep pattern while also improving the
quality of the muscles of a child’s bladder during sleep.
However studies have proven that this drug is only beneficial
in approximately thirty percent of children who take it.
Unfortunately after the medication is stopped often the bed
wetting episodes begin all over again. This medication is
generally not given to children who are under six years of age.
Imipramine is considered to be a tricyclic antidepressant and
is only available in tablet or capsule form. This drug has its
share of side effects which could include anxiety,
irritability, insomnia, moodiness and a loss of appetite. Those
taking this drug must be carefully monitored by a doctor.
Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) is a synthetic version of the
natural antidiuretic hormone that works to help the bladder
manufacture less urine and by so doing there is a lesser chance
that a child’s bladder will overfill and then spill out while
he or she is sleeping. DDAVP "promotes water reabsorption,
resulting in increased urine concentration and decreased output
during sleep." This drug is very safe and effective with a
success rate of twenty-five to sixty-five percent. DDAVP is
considered to be safer than Imipramine but it is more costly.
However while there can be side effects they are for the most
part minimal. This medication can be administered either in
tablet form (approximately a 0.2 milligram tablet before
bedtime for a period of one week to start) or as a nasal spray.
The medication generally goes to work very fast and if it is
beneficial to the patient it can be used every week for a
period of three to six months and then gradually decreased. For
example, it can go from a schedule of seven days a week to five
to three or four to two and finally to none.
While there are other drugs that be prescribed by a
physician the two described above are the most common. It is
important to discuss with a doctor whether or not bed wetting
is serious enough to require medication or whether you can
weather the storm until it passes. It is important to try not
to become too filled with tension over bed wetting as this can
make the problem ten times worse.