Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) for Bleeding Disorders

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Desmopressin (DEZ mo press in) is generic for DDAVP® and Stimate® (STYE mate).  It works to release clotting factors into the blood to help make a blood clot.

How this Medicine Works

Children who have mild bleeding disorders, like von Willebrand disease (VWD), mild platelet function defects, and mild Hemophilia A have a harder time clotting their blood. If your child has a mild bleeding disorder, he or she will have lab tests to find out if desmopressin may help. Desmopressin helps platelets stick to injured blood vessels so clots can form. It also helps the body release clotting factors into the blood vessels to make the blood clot faster. This stops bleeding more quickly.

Desmopressin might be used to treat bleeding caused by:

  • Cuts or bruises
  • Nosebleeds
  • Minor invasive dental procedures
  • Minor surgery
  • Menstrual periods
  • Mouth bleeds

How to Give This Medicine 

  • Read the label carefully. Make sure you are giving the right dose. It is easy to confuse the many different dosage forms and strengths.
  • Stay with your child to make sure he or she uses the medicine the right way.
  • Desmopressin nasal spray may be used at home to treat bleeding disorders. Do not use other brands of desmopressin nasal spray to treat bleeding disorders. They do not contain a high enough dose of desmopressin.
  • To be sure your child gets the right dose, pump the nasal spray bottle 4 times before the first dose. Each bottle has 25 doses, so keep track of how often you have used it in order to get a refill on time. Your child’s doctor will tell you how much to give.

Checking your child's blood pressure

  • Desmopressin can also be given through an IV over 15 to 30 minutes. This is given in the hospital before surgery. Read Helping Hand HH-II-17, IV Therapy. Your child's blood pressure and pulse will be checked while the desmopressin is being given (Picture 1).
  • Desmopressin starts to work within thirty (30) minutes after being given. The effect lasts for 24 hours.
  • Desmopressin may be given only one time in 24 hours, up to 3 times in one week.
  • If the bleeding does not stop and your child has had 3 doses of desmopressin in 1 week, another type of treatment may be needed.

How to Manage Fluids 

  • When your child uses desmopressin, fluids should be limited for the 24 hours after the dose. This is because drinking too many fluids can lower sodium in your child’s body. When sodium gets too low, your child could have seizures.
  • Call your nurse in the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center (HTC) when your child has a growth spurt because the amount of fluids he or she can drink will change.


  • If your child is allergic to desmopressin, he or she should not take this medicine.
  • If a patient thinks she might be pregnant, she should tell the doctor before she begins taking this or any medicine.
  • If a patient is breast-feeding her baby, she should tell her doctor before she starts taking this or any medicine.

Medicine Storage

  • Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • Store this medicine at room temperature.

Drug-Nutrient Interactions

Let your child’s doctor, nurse, or pharmacist know if he or she takes any of these medicines:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medicines
  • Narcotic pain medicines
  • Anti-seizure medicines
  • Lithium
  • Loperamide
  • Depression medicine

Possible Side Effects

  • Your child’s face may turn red and feel warm (flushed)
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased urination that may last for 12-24 hours
  • Allergic reaction may happen any time a new drug is introduced to your child

Most side effects will go away in 30 minutes or less after the DDAVP is given.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Signs of low sodium, like headache, problems focusing, memory problems, confusion, weakness, change in balance
  • Signs of a clot in the brain like decrease in strength on one side of the body, problems speaking or thinking, change in balance, vision changes
  • Signs of a clot in the legs like swelling, warmth, numbness, change in color of the skin, pain

When to Call for Emergency Help

Call for emergency help if:

  • Your child has any signs of an allergic reaction, like trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue, swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles.
  • Your child is having seizures.

Safety Tips and Other Advice

  • Some drug stores may not have this medicine. Please ask your nurse to call your pharmacy before you leave the hospital to see if they have this medicine or can order it for you. You may also have the prescription filled at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Pharmacy.
  • Tell the doctor and pharmacists about any unusual or allergic reactions your child has to any medicine.
  • Bring all your child’s medicines with you in the original bottles whenever your child sees a doctor, goes to an emergency room, or is admitted to the hospital.
  • Learn the name and spelling of this medicine. Teach your child as well, if he or she is old enough. You will need to know this information when you call the doctor.
  • If your child takes too much of this medicine, or if someone else takes this medicine, call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY 614-228-2272). They will tell you what to do.
  • Your child should wear a medical identification (I.D.) bracelet or necklace. You can get these through the HTC and pharmacies. In an emergency, the doctor will need to know your child has a bleeding disorder and is being treated with desmopressin.
  • When your child goes to the dentist, be sure to tell the dentist that your child was given this medicine and why.
  • Tell your child’s teacher, school nurse, coach, babysitter, and others that your child is taking this medicine and what side effects to watch for.
  • When the medicine is no longer needed, mix the leftover medicine with an unwanted material like coffee grounds. Put the mixture into a container or a bag that will not leak. Throw the container away in the trash where children and pets cannot reach it.

Follow-Up Appointments

  • If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
  • You can expect to have regular follow-up appointments with your child’s doctor.
  • Write down all your questions as you think of them. Bring this list with you when you see the doctor.
  • Be sure to call your doctor if you cannot keep your appointment.

Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) for Bleeding Disorders (PDF)

HH-V-120 9/93 Revised 12/16 Copyright 1993 Nationwide Children’s Hospital