Bladder problems are common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and usually consist of urgency, frequency, incomplete emptying, and sometimes incontinence. A urinary tract infection should always be ruled out before starting any other medication.

DDAVP is a brand-name hormone that can be used as nasal spray (generically called desmopressin) that affects the kidneys, which helps to control frequent needs to urinate — especially in people with nocturnal enuresis (involuntary urination that happens at night while sleeping). It is an analogue of the antidiuretic hormone (8-arginine vasopressin, ADH) so it temporarily reduces urine volume and frequency.

Because DDAVP is a nasal spray, side effects are occasional and may include nasal congestion, rhinitis, and nasal bleeding, and to a lesser extent, headache, stomach pain, and nausea.

Patients who take DDAVP, especially older people with MS, should reduce their intake of water and other fluids because an excess of fluids may lead to serious hyponatremia, when a person’s sodium levels falls too low.

Desmopressin generics are available for DDAVP.

Read the latest news about bladder dysfunction in multiple sclerosis.

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