To assess whether desmopressin (1-desamino 8-d-arginine vasopressin) is safe and effective in the treatment of nocturnal polyuria in elderly men.
Patients and methods
Twenty men (age 52–80 years) complaining of nocturia were found to have nocturnal polyuria, determined from frequency-volume charts and defined as the production of >33% of the 24 h urine volume overnight, averaged over a 1-week period. In a double-blind study of cross-over design, a 1-week placebo run-in period was followed by two 2-week periods of placebo or 20 μg intranasal desmopressin, and ended with an open 2-week treatment period with 40 μg desmopressin.
Desmopressin caused a significant reduction in nocturnal urine volume and the percentage of urine passed at night, but the reduction in nocturnal frequency was only significant during treatment with 40 μg desmopressin. Four patients on desmopressin experienced side-effects, three of which were thought to be due to fluid retention.
Desmopressin is an effective treatment for nocturnal polyuria in some elderly men. However, it can cause fluid retention and should not be given to patients with cardiac failure. Those undergoing treatment must be closely monitored.