Fifty children with primary nocturnal enuresis were randomised for a study comparing desmopressin (DDAVP) and enuresis alarm. Forty six completed the trial, 24 of whom were treated with 20 micrograms intranasal desmopressin nightly and 22 with enuresis alarm for three months. Failures were crossed over and relapses were continued on the same treatment for a further three months. The improvement rate was 70% in the group given desmopressin and 86% in the group treated with alarm; the difference was not significant. During the first week of treatment the group given desmopressin was significantly dryer, and at the end of the study 10 of these patients relapsed compared with one patient in the group given the alarm. No serious side effects were observed. This study confirms the role of conditioning treatment as preferable in long term treatment of nocturnal enuresis. When this fails or when a safe drug with rapid effect is needed, however, desmopressin is a useful alternative.
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