Purpose: In this national, multicenter, retrospective survey we tested whether structured withdrawal of desmopressin, in which dose frequency rather than dose quantity was gradually decreased, would improve outcome.
Material and methods: Enrolled in the study were 487 monosymptomatic enuretic patients from a total of 181 centers (The Enuresis Algorithm of Marschall Survey Group). At study outset 41% of patients had 7 wet nights per week, 45% had 3 to 6 and 14% had fewer than 3. All patients were treated with desmopressin, which was abruptly terminated or tapered with analogue by a structured scheme. Response rates were compared in the groups according to International Children's Continence Society guidelines.
Results: The 173 children with abrupt termination had a 51% response rate, including a full and partial response in 44.1% and 27%, respectively, and no response in 22%. The 314 children with tapering had a 72% response rate, including a full and partial response in 66.8% and 24%, and no response in 4% (p <0.0001). Enuresis frequency with abrupt termination decreased from 21 wet nights per month before treatment to 6. The tapering group had 21 wet nights per months before and 2 after treatment (p <0.0001). Followup at 1 month showed fewer than 2 wet nights per month in 57% of cases with abrupt termination and in 80% with tapering (p <0.0001). Pretreatment had no influence. No severe side effects occurred.
Conclusions: This national, multicenter, retrospective analysis proves that antidiuretic treatment followed by a structured withdrawal program is superior to regular treatment with abrupt termination in enuretic children. Hence, desmopressin followed by structured withdrawal should be the standard. It is also superior to published outcomes of alarm treatment.