Drugs for nocturnal enuresis in children (other than desmopressin and tricyclics)

C. M. A. Glazener, J. H. Evans, R. E. Peto

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Enuresis (bedwetting) is a socially stigmatising and stressful condition which affects around 15-20% of five year olds, and up to 2% of young adults. Although there is a high rate of spontaneous remission, the social, emotional and psychological costs to the children can be great.
To assess the effects of drugs other than desmopressin and tricyclics on nocturnal enuresis in children, and to compare them with other interventions.
We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group trials register. Date of the most recent search: December 2002. The reference list of a previous version of this review was also searched.
All randomised trials of drugs (excluding desmopressin or tricyclics) for nocturnal enuresis in children were included in the review. Trials were eligible for inclusion if children were randomised to receive drugs compared with placebo, other drugs or other conservative interventions for nocturnal bedwetting. Trials focused solely on daytime wetting were excluded.
Two reviewers independently assessed the quality of the eligible trials and extracted data.
In 32 randomised controlled trials (25 new in this update), a total of 1225 out of 1613 children received an active drug other than desmopressin or a tricyclic. In all, 28 different drugs or classes of drugs were tested, but the trials were generally small or of poor methodological quality (five were quasi-randomised and the remainder failed to give adequate details about the randomisation process). Although indomethacin and diclofenac were better than placebo during treatment, desmopressin was better than both of them, with less chance of adverse effects. There were no data regarding what happened after treatment stopped. Limited data suggested that an alarm was better than drugs during treatment.
There was not enough evidence to judge whether the included drugs reduced bedwetting. There was limited evidence to suggest that desmopressin, imipramine and alarms were better than the drugs to which they were compared. In other reviews, desmopressin, tricyclics and alarm interventions have been shown to be effective.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD002238
Number of pages65
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2003


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