The management of patients with diabetes insipidus can be confusing because of the disorder's variable pathophysiology, the numerous medications used, and the possible complications related to their use. Nevertheless, the primary care physician, rather than the subspecialist, will increasingly be called on to manage patients with such relatively uncommon conditions in the future. If a few basic facts and principles are kept in mind, the care of most patients with diabetes insipidus can be successful. A comprehensive, practical review of the short- and long-term therapy for patients with diabetes insipidus, including central diabetes insipidus, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, and the "excessive vasopressinase syndrome," is presented. The use of single and multidrug regimens, and of the newly marketed oral formulation of desmopressin acetate, is described for common clinical settings.