VPA-985 is an orally active, competitive vasopressin V(2) receptor antagonist that in normal human beings increases water excretion without affecting solute excretion. Whether solute excretion is affected in patients with hyponatremia resulting from inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) or from cirrhosis treated with VPA-985 is unknown. Six hyponatremic patients with SIADH and 5 hyponatremic patients with cirrhosis with ascitis (CWAs) were treated with 50 or 100 mg VPA-985 twice daily. Evolution of creatinine, urea, uric acid, sodium, potassium, and osmotic clearance were determined. Volume hormones (plasma renin [PR], aldosterone, antidiuretic hormone [ADH], atrial natriuretic factor [ANF]) were also determined before and after treatment. In patients with SIADH, serum sodium concentration (SNa) was generally corrected in 1 day (SNa: 126 +/- 4.5 mmol/L at t = 0 hours and 133 +/- 5.6 mmol/L at t = 24 hours) and associated with a decrease in sodium excretion (from 82 +/- 22 mmol/24 hours to 45 +/- 21 mmol/24 hours; P < 0.05) without modification in potassium excretion. Despite an increase in diuresis (from 0.84 +/- 0.2 ml/min to 1.46 +/- 0.4 ml/min) urea and uric acid clearances decreased. Urine osmolality decreased from 414 +/- 148 mOsm/kg H(2)O to 209 +/- 55 mOsm/kg H(2)O. Volume hormones did not change. In the CWAs the rise of SNa was more progressive (SNa: 126 +/- 2.8 mmol/L at t = H0 to 133 +/- 4.9 mmol/L at t = 48 hours) and parallel to an augmentation in sodium excretion (from 23 +/- 18 mmol/24 hours to 65 6 60 mmol/24 hours the second day of VPA administration). The higher sodium excretion was also connected with a progression in potassium excretion (from 22 6 7 mmol/24 hours to 36 +/- 18 mmol/24 hours). The increase in diuresis under VPA from 0.42 +/- 0.2 mL/min to 1.7 +/- 0.9 mL/min resulted in a higher urea clearance. Urine osmolality decreased from 509 +/- 142 mOsm/kg H(2)O before VPA to 194 +/- 106 mOsm/kg H(2)O after VPA. ADH increased in CWAs treated with VPA, from 1.9 +/- 1.2 pg/mL to 5.3 +/- 2.8 pg/mL (P <.05) while other volume hormones did not change. VPA-985 is a highly effective drug in the short-term management of hyponatremic patients with SIADH or CWAs. SNa correction is associated with urinary sodium retention in SIADH, whereas in CWAs a mild increase in sodium excretion is observed.