No one medication is able to cure bed wetting. The good news is that most children do tend to outgrow the habit of bed wetting. As they grow and mature, the muscles of a child’s bladder get stronger and therefore so do their ability to control their bladder functions. As well they do not tend to fall into as deep a sleep every night as they did when they were toddlers. Children often become more attuned to the brain’s message that the bladder needs to be emptied. In the meantime if bed wetting is a consistent and embarrassing problem for a child there are medications that can be prescribed by a doctor to help treat the problem.
The first drug that appeared on the market to help bed wetting was Imipramine (Tofranil). This drug helps to encourage a child’s restful sleep pattern while also improving the quality of the muscles of a child’s bladder during sleep. However studies have proven that this drug is only beneficial in approximately thirty percent of children who take it. Unfortunately after the medication is stopped often the bed wetting episodes begin all over again. This medication is generally not given to children who are under six years of age. Imipramine is considered to be a tricyclic antidepressant and is only available in tablet or capsule form. This drug has its share of side effects which could include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, moodiness and a loss of appetite. Those taking this drug must be carefully monitored by a doctor.
Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) is a synthetic version of the natural antidiuretic hormone that works to help the bladder manufacture less urine and by so doing there is a lesser chance that a child’s bladder will overfill and then spill out while he or she is sleeping. DDAVP “promotes water reabsorption, resulting in increased urine concentration and decreased output during sleep.” This drug is very safe and effective with a success rate of twenty-five to sixty-five percent. DDAVP is considered to be safer than Imipramine but it is more costly. However while there can be side effects they are for the most part minimal. This medication can be administered either in tablet form (approximately a 0.2 milligram tablet before bedtime for a period of one week to start) or as a nasal spray. The medication generally goes to work very fast and if it is beneficial to the patient it can be used every week for a period of three to six months and then gradually decreased. For example, it can go from a schedule of seven days a week to five to three or four to two and finally to none.
While there are other drugs that be prescribed by a physician the two described above are the most common. It is important to discuss with a doctor whether or not bed wetting is serious enough to require medication or whether you can weather the storm until it passes. It is important to try not to become too filled with tension over bed wetting as this can make the problem ten times worse.