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Bells Beat Pills to Stop Bed-Wetting

Researchers Say Alarm Devices Are More Effective for a Permanent Cure

Combining Alarm and Medication

Pediatric psychologist Michael Mellon, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., tells WebMD that combining the alarm and medication seems to work best for children who often wet the bed several times during the night.

Mellon calls drug therapy a "management option" rather than a cure for bed-wetting. He says he is disturbed that it is the only treatment that is often recommended by pediatricians and family doctors.

Drug treatment typically costs between $100 and $120 a month, and Mellon says the relapse rate after kids stop taking medications is about 90%. The relapse rate for alarm treatment among children who go through the Mayo Clinic program is about 20%, he says.

"These families can end up spending thousands of dollars on drug treatment vs. a few hundred for alarm treatment, and insurance companies routinely pay for the medication and not the alarm," he says. "That makes no sense at all."

Mellon says he is also disturbed by recent ads promoting big-kid-sized disposable diapers for children who wet the bed.

"It is upsetting to see kids who are 8, 9 and even 10 years old being told to wear pull-up diapers, instead of treating them at age 6 with a treatment that is very effective at stopping them from wetting permanently," he says.

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