Desmopressin (DDAVP) Challenge
What is Desmopressin?
Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a man-made form of vasopressin, a hormone made by your body. It
can be given into a vein or as a nose spray (Stimate®). DDAVP is used to stop bleeding or
prevent bleeding with surgery or dental work. It is most often given to people with mild von
Willebrand disease, mild hemophilia A, or platelet function disorders.
Why do I need a DDAVP Challenge?
This test is given to see if DDAVP will increase the clotting factor in your blood enough to
prevent bleeding. For a small number of people DDAVP will not work.
What can I expect during my appointment?
Before DDAVP is given you will need a blood test to measure the amount of clotting factor in
your blood. This can be done during a clinic visit or on the day of the challenge.
If DDAVP is given into a vein a nurse may place numbing cream on your arm then insert an IV.
The medication is given over 30 minutes.
If DDAVP is given as a nose spray (Stimate®) it may be given in clinic by a nurse or at home as
ordered by your provider.
You will have a blood test 60-90 minutes after the medicine is given to see if your clotting factor
levels go up. The amount of clotting factor in your blood will be highest about 90 minutes after
DDAVP is given. You may need to have one more blood test 6-8 hours later to see if your
clotting factor level stays up.
Precautions while taking DDAVP
For 24 hours after DDAVP limit the amount of fluid you drink, especially plain water. Drink
only to satisfy thirst.
Sometimes, taking DDAVP can cause severe water retention which can lead to low blood
sodium levels and cause seizures and coma. If you have neurologic or kidney problems, heart
failure or are very young or elderly you may need to drink less fluids.
Possible side effects that usually do not need medical attention
ξ Temporary facial flushing
ξ Mild headache
ξ Mild water retention
ξ Stuffy nose
ξ Sore throat
Side effects that need medical attention
ξ Headache not relieved by Tylenol®/acetaminophen
ξ Dizziness or fainting
ξ Vision problems
ξ Signs of an allergic reaction (fever or chills, rash or hives, wheezing, trouble breathing
Your healthcare provider will call you with your test results within 1 week. If DDAVP increases
your clotting factor levels enough then you are a responder to DDAVP. If you have only a
partial response or no change in clotting factor levels then your healthcare provider will
recommend a different treatment. More testing may be required.
For questions or concerns please contact the UWHC Comprehensive Program for Bleeding
Nursing: (608) 890-9494 or (608) 890-9493
Toll Free: 1-877-737-6707
After hours: (608) 262-0486 or 1-800-323-8942 (ask for Hematologist on call)
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 1/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7729