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The efficacy of alarm therapy versus desmopressin therapy in the treatment of primary mono-symptomatic nocturnal enuresis: a systematic review

  • Nina Perrin (a1), Lynn Sayer (a2) and Alison While (a3)
Abstract
Aim

To investigate the efficacy of alarm therapy versus desmopressin therapy in treating primary mono-symptomatic nocturnal enuresis (PMNE).

Background

PMNE is a common childhood disorder, which if left untreated can have a significant impact on a child's self-esteem and behaviour. Alarm therapy and desmopressin therapy are the two main treatments currently available in UK-based nurse-led enuresis clinics.

Methods

A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to assess the efficacy of PMNE treatments. Following application of inclusion/exclusion criteria eight randomised controlled/clinical trials were identified involving children aged 5–17 years with PMNE receiving either alarm therapy or desmopressin therapy.

Findings

Seven studies found no statistical difference in nocturnal continence improvement between the two interventions at the point when treatment was stopped. Four studies had a significantly larger relapse rate of nocturnal enuresis with desmopressin compared with alarm therapy when the treatment was withdrawn. Two papers reported that those participating in the alarm therapy intervention of the trials had a higher attrition rate than the desmopressin intervention. The overall findings from the eight studies showed that long term alarm therapy was more effective in treating nocturnal enuresis than desmopressin therapy. The review found that families and children receiving the alarm therapy intervention require more support from health care professionals to comply with treatment than those receiving the desmopressin therapy. However, if nurse-led clinics can support families to persist with the alarm therapy intervention, they are more likely to experience longer term improvement in continence.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Lynn Sayer, Department of Postgraduate Research, King's College London, Room 1.15a, James Clerk Maxwell Building, 57 Waterloo Road, SE1 8WA London, UK. Email: lynn.sayer@kcl.ac.uk
References
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Primary Health Care Research & Development
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