Mostly bedwetting is treated by using bedwetting alarms, but sometimes doctors might suggest a drug based treatment. All drugs have side effects and there aren’t any side effects to using the alarms, so it’s no wonder they are the preferred treatment.
What drugs are used to treat bedwetting?
- Anticholinergics like Oxybutynin
Vasopressin is a hormone. It’s released throughout the day, but it peaks at night. It send a message to the kidneys to reduce urine production while we sleep. If there isn’t enough vasopressin, the kidneys continue to produce large amounts of urine and the bladder is unable to hold the volume produced. Vasopressin production is something that happens as part of a child’s development. Each child is an individual and they start producing it at different ages.Desmopressin is the artificial form of vasopressin. It works in a similar way and reduces the amount of urine produced overnight. It is necessary to restrict liquids an hour before taking the medicine and after taking it.
As you’d expect it’s a prescription drug and it’s available in tablet or melt form. The child takes it before they go to sleep and it works for about 8-10 hours. Not every child will benefit from it though. Only a third will find it fully effective and a third will find that it has no effect. The remaining third will get some reduction, but will still have bedwetting episodes. It only replaces the missing hormone and doesn’t stimulate its production. So if a child was dry taking it and stops taking it, they may restart bedwetting. It’s normal to take it for a few months, then stop for a while to see if the body is producing its own vasopressin.
Oxybutynin is a medicine that is used to help an overactive bladder. It helps by relaxing muscles in the bladder which allows it to hold a greater volume of urine. Often it is used in combination with desmopressin.