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Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

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How is nephrogenic diabetes insipidus treated?

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be difficult to treat. Since the kidneys can't respond to ADH, giving more ADH doesn't help. There's no good way to get the kidneys to respond to the ADH that's there. In fact, treatment options are limited.

If a drug like lithium is responsible, switching medicines might improve nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Most adults with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus are able to keep up with fluid losses by drinking water. For some people, though, the symptoms of near-constant thirst and urination can become intolerable. Some treatments can reduce the symptoms of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, at least somewhat:

  • Diet. A low-salt, low-protein diet reduces urine output.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), and naproxen (Naprosyn) also can reduce urination.
  • Diuretics. It might seem paradoxical, but "water pills" like hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride can ease excessive urination from nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

All adults and children with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus should take frequent bathroom breaks. This helps to avoid over-distending the bladder, which can cause long-term problems, though rarely.

The most important treatment for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is to ensure constant access to lots of water. Not keeping up with fluid losses can lead to dehydration or electrolyte imbalances, which can sometimes be severe. Seek medical help if symptoms don't improve after rehydrating, eating fresh fruit, and taking a multivitamin.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by John A. Seibel, MD on July 18, 2012
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