How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Desmopressin injection belongs to 2 classes of medications: antidiuretics and antihemorrhagics. It is used to treat central diabetes insipidus, a condition where the kidneys are unable to conserve water due to a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This condition causes frequent urination and thirst. For central diabetes insipidus, desmopressin injection works by helping reduce the amount of urine produced by the kidneys.
Desmopressin injection is also used to prevent bleeding during and after surgery, and to stop bleeding due to trauma for people with uremia (kidney failure) or certain bleeding disorders such as hemophilia A and von Willebrand's disease. Desmopressin injection works by increasing certain components involved in blood clotting.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each mL contains desmopressin acetate 4 µg (equivalent to 3.6 µg free base) in an isotonic sterile and pyrogen-free water solution, for intravenous (into a vein), intramuscular (into a muscle), or subcutaneous (under the skin) administration.
How should I use this medication?
To prevent and stop bleeding for people with hemophilia A and von Willebrand's disease, the dose of desmopressin injection for children and adults is based on body weight. It is given as an intravenous (into a vein) infusion over 20 to 30 minutes.
For central diabetes insipidus, the usual adult dose of desmopressin injection is 1 µg to 4 µg once daily given as an injection under the skin, into a muscle, or into a vein. For children, the usual daily dose is 0.4 µg. Your doctor may adjust the dose according to your response to the medication.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication in the refrigerator (do not allow to freeze), protect it from light, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use desmopressin injection if you:
- are allergic to desmopressin or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- have type IIB or platelet-type (pseudo) von Willebrand's disease
- have medical conditions that require treatment with diuretics (e.g., heart failure, high blood pressure)
- have syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH)
- have known low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia)
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- facial flushing
- pain in the vulva
- stomach cramps
- water retention
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- fast heartbeat
- muscle cramps
- redness, swelling, or pain at the site of injection (if the medication was injected under the skin) or along a vein where the medication was injected (if the medication was injected into a vein)
- skin rash
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood pressure and increased heart rate: Desmopressin injection can cause changes in blood pressure and a fast heart rate. If you have vascular headaches (e.g., migraine), heart failure, heart disease, or high blood pressure, you may be more sensitive to these effects. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.
Effectiveness: Desmopressin injection is not effective in controlling excessive urination caused by kidney disease. Your doctor will monitor you and your response to desmopressin injection while you are taking this medication.
Fluid and electrolyte balance: Fluid intake should be adjusted in order to reduce the possibility of water retention and low levels of sodium in the blood, especially for children and seniors. Talk to your doctor about how much fluid intake is appropriate. Your doctor will monitor you closely while taking this medication. People who are dehydrated should wait until their water balance has been adequately restored before taking desmopressin injection. People who have cystic fibrosis are prone to low levels of sodium in the blood, and should discuss this with their doctor before taking desmopressin.
Tolerance: There are reports of changes in response to this medication over time. Some people may experience decreased responsiveness, while others may experience a shortened duration of effect. If you notice this, contact your doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if desmopressin injection passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for infants younger than 3 months of age for use in preventing or stopping bleeding associated with hemophilia A or von Willebrand's disease.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between desmopressin injection and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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