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Diabetes insipidus

  • Treatment

    The cause of the underlying condition should be treated when possible.

    Central diabetes insipidus may be controlled with vasopressin (desmopressin, DDAVP). You take vasopressin as either a nasal spray or tablets.

    If nephrogenic DI is caused by medication (for example, lithium), stopping the medication may help restore normal kidney function. However, after many years of lithium use, the nephrogenic DI may be permanent.

    Hereditary nephrogenic DI and lithium-induced nephrogenic DI are treated by drinking enough fluids to match urine output and with drugs that lower urine output. Drugs used to treat nephrogenic DI include:

    • Anti-inflammatory medication (indomethacin)
    • Diuretics [hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and amiloride]

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome depends on the underlying disorder. If treated, diabetes insipidus does not cause severe problems or reduce life expectancy.


    If thirst mechanisms are normal and you drink enough fluids, there are no significant effects on body fluid or salt balance.

    Not drinking enough fluids can lead to the following complications:

    • Dehydration
      • Dry skin
      • Dry mucus membranes
      • Fever
      • Rapid heart rate
      • Sunken appearance to eyes
      • Sunken fontanelles (soft spot) in infants
      • Unintentional weight loss
    • Electrolyte imbalance
      • Fatigue, lethargy
      • Headache
      • Irritability
      • Muscle pains

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of diabetes insipidus.

    If you have diabetes insipidus, contact your health care provider if frequent urination or extreme thirst return.