Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Drugs to Treat Bed-Wetting

    If no underlying medical condition is causing your child's bed-wetting, there is no real medical need to treat him. Bed-wetting tends to go away by itself. However, if after talking to your child's doctor you decide to treat your child with medications, several drug therapies are available.

    The two drugs approved by the FDA specifically for bed-wetting are DDAVP and Tofranil. Other medications that are sometimes used to treat bed-wetting include Ditropan and Levsin.

    Recommended Related to Sleep Disorders

    Do Seniors Need Less Sleep?

    When it comes to myths about sleep, this one refuses to nod off -- and stay asleep. Contrary to popular opinion, older people don't need less sleep than the average person. In fact, adults require about the same amount of sleep from their 20s into old age, although the number of hours per night varies from person to person. But many older adults get much less sleep than they need, for a variety of reasons. Take Harry Gaertner, a 68-year-old retiree from Richardson, Texas. He remembers first being...

    Read the Do Seniors Need Less Sleep? article > >

    Drug therapy does not work for everyone, and these medications can have significant side effects. Talk to your child's doctor to determine if drug therapy is right for your child.

    A Guide to Bed-Wetting Drugs

    Here's an overview of each drug used to treat bed-wetting:

    DDAVP

    DDAVP is a synthetic form of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a substance that occurs naturally in the body. This drug works by imitating ADH in the body, which reduces the amount of urine that the body produces and also increases the concentration of the urine. Its main use is for children who have not been helped by an alarm. It is also used as a stopgap measure to help children attend camps or sleepovers without embarrassment. It is an FDA-approved treatment for bed-wetting.

    DDAVP comes as a nasal spray or pill and is taken before bedtime. The dose is adjusted until effective. Once it is working, the dose is tapered, if possible.

    Side effects of DDAVP are uncommon but may include:

    Tofranil

    Tofranil is a tricyclic antidepressant that has been used to treat bed-wetting for about 30 years. How it works is not clear, but it is known to have a relaxing effect on the bladder, allowing the bladder to hold more urine comfortably.

    Side effects of Tofranil tend to be rare with correct dosage but may include:

    A warning: Tofranil can have toxic side effects if taken improperly. Deaths have been attributed to accidental overdoses.

    Ditropan and Levsin

    Ditropan and Levsin work by reducing unwanted bladder contractions. Side effects may include:

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on February 16, 2016

    Today on WebMD

    fatigued senior woman
    We’ve got 10 tips to show you how
    Man snoring in bed
    Know your myths from your facts.
     
    Young woman sleeping
    What do your dreams say about you?
    woman eith hangover
    It’s common, and really misunderstood.
     
    Young woman sleeping
    Quiz
    Cannot sleep
    Video
     
    child sitting in bed
    Article
    Woman with insomnia
    Quiz
     
    nurse sleeping
    ARTICLE
    Foods That Help Or Harm Your Sleep
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
    Slideshow
    Pain at Night
    ARTICLE