Desmopressin acetate for hemophilia

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Desmopressin acetate for hemophilia


Generic NameBrand Name
desmopressinDDAVP, Minirin

How It Works

Desmopressin can be used by people who have mild to moderate hemophilia to help increase clotting factors when they have certain medical or dental procedures done. Medical researchers believe that this drug acts by releasing unused clotting factor VIII from cells that line blood vessels.

Why It Is Used

Desmopressin is used before dental and minor surgical procedures for people who have mild to moderate hemophilia A. It is also used to treat mild bleeding episodes. Desmopressin acetate is not usually used in certain situations, such as for:

  • Severe cases of hemophilia.
  • Children younger than 1 year.
  • Serious injuries.

How Well It Works

In mild to moderate cases of hemophilia, desmopressin acetate can sometimes effectively control bleeding, because it increases the percentage of clotting factor VIII in the blood. But its effectiveness varies with each individual, and the medicine's effectiveness is not known until it is tested individually.

Side Effects

Possible side effects of desmopressin include:

  • Fluid retention.
  • Mild increase in pulse or blood pressure.
  • Redness of the face and neck (flushing).
  • Headache.
  • Congestion.
  • Fatigue.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Desmopressin is used to treat hemophilia A. It is usually injected. But it can also be used as a nasal spray. Desmopressin does not carry infectious diseases, and it is safe for treatment of adults. But desmopressin may become ineffective if it is used too often.

Desmopressin is inexpensive compared to clotting factor replacement.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
Last Revised October 9, 2009

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