Central or neurogenic DI and nephrogenic DI are treated differently.
We treat central or neurogenic DI by giving medication to provide the vasopressin effects that the body needs. This medication comes in 2 forms, which are:
- Vasopressin given as an injection
The effects of the vasopressin injection last for only a few minutes.
- As a medication called desmopressin
The effects of desmopressin last for 8-24 hours. Desmopressin can be given as a nasal sniff (a mist you sniff through your nose), a pill or an injection. It is usually given about 2 times a day. When your child takes desmopressin, it’s a good idea to make sure your child has urinated before taking the next dose. This will help make sure your child doesn’t become overloaded with fluid.
We can also help treat DI by making sure children drink fluids only when they are thirsty and not just because they want or like a drink. This will help prevent them from becoming overloaded with fluid.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to treat babies with central DI with desmopressin because they need to take in so much fluid to get the nutrition they need. They often do better when they are treated with hydrochlorothiazide, given as a pill or liquid and a diluted (watered down), low protein formula until they are mostly taking solid foods. Hydrochlorothiazide works on the kidneys to help hold onto the water your baby’s body needs.
We treat nephrogenic DI in a few ways, such as:
- Following a low-protein diet
- Drinking fluids that are mostly plain water
- Giving drugs like hydrochlorothiazide
Because nephrogenic DI is sometimes caused by kidney damage, treating the reason for the kidney damage can help the kidneys heal so they can respond to vasopressin normally. This might include:
- Stopping medications that cause nephrogenic DI
- Treating a kidney infection
- Correcting imbalances in calcium and potassium