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Bells Beat Pills to Stop Bed-Wetting

Researchers Say Alarm Devices Are More Effective for a Permanent Cure
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WebMD Health News

May 6, 2005 -- It is a problem that affects around 20% of 5-year-olds and up to 3% of teens. Frequent nighttime bed-wetting can be emotionally devastating for a child of any age, but a new research review shows that most kids don't have to suffer.

According to the analysis, one of the oldest treatments for bed-wetting is also one of the most effective.

Nighttime alarms that vibrate, ring, or light up when a child starts to wet the bed were found to work better to stop bed-wetting permanently than the most widely prescribed drug.

"About 50% of children are cured after three to four months of treatment with the alarm," Cathryn Glazener, MD, PhD, tells WebMD. "Alarms are certainly more of a hassle than drugs at first, but they are also much more likely to work long term."

Drug Works Faster

While children who took the drug desmopressen (also known as Concentraid and DDAVP) stopped nighttime bed-wetting faster than those who used the alarms, they were more likely to start wetting the bed again after stopping treatment.

The review was conducted by The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that evaluates medical research.

Many children occasionally wet the bed, but the medical condition known as nocturnal enuresis is nighttime bed-wetting that occurs at an age when a child could reasonably be expected to be dry. That age, according to the report, is 5 years old.

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