Octim injection (Desmopressin)

How does it work?

Octim injection contains the active ingredient desmopressin, which is a type of medicine called a vasopressin analogue. It is similar to a hormone produced naturally by the body, called vasopressin (or antidiuretic hormone) and works by mimicking its action.

Vasopressin is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is involved in controlling the natural balance of water levels in the body. It also increases levels of clotting factors in the blood. Clotting factors are required for the normal blood clotting process. People with haemophilia or von Willebrand's disease have either a deficiency or a complete lack of some of these clotting factors and thus have problems with stopping bleeding.

Octim injection is used to increase the levels of some of the clotting factors in the blood and thus help the blood to clot more efficiently. The injection is administerd under the skin (subcutaneously) or as a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion).

What is it used for?

  • Increasing levels of blood clotting factors in people with the blood clotting disorders haemophilia or von Willebrand's disease. In these conditions Octim injection is used to help the blood clot following trauma or during surgery.
  • Testing the capacity of the body to dissolve blood clots once they have formed (fibrinolytic response).


  • If you are having repeated doses of this medicine to control bleeding in haemophilia or von Willebrand's disease it is important that you avoid excessive fluid intake, as this can lead to a build up of fluid in the body. You should only drink as much fluid as you need to satisfy thirst. Follow the instructions given by your doctor.
  • It is recommended that your blood pressure is monitored continuously while you are having treatment with this medicine.
  • Your doctor may also want to regularly check your body weight and the level of sodium in your blood while you are having treatment with this medicine. This is to check that fluid is not building up in your body.

Use with caution in

  • Decreased kidney function.
  • Disease involving the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Conditions that need treatment with medicines that increase urine production (diuretics).
  • Imbalance of water and salt concentrations in the blood (fluid and electrolyte imbalance).
  • People at risk of developing raised pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure).

Not to be used in

  • Uncontrolled heart failure.
  • Unstable angina pectoris.
  • Abnormal intense thirst caused by mental disorders (pyschogenic polydipsia).
  • People who drink abnormally large amounts of fluids.
  • Von Willebrand's Disease Type IIB.
  • Octim injection should not be used for fibrinolytic testing in people with heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure (hypertension) or any other condition treated with medicines that increase urine production (diuretics).

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • This medicine should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit is greater than any possible risk to the developing baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor. If this medicine is used during pregnancy, blood pressure monitoring is recommended due to an increased risk of pre-eclampsia.
  • This medicine may pass into breast milk. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Headache.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Decreased blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Facial flushing.
  • If used without restricting fluid intake (see warnings above): retention of water in the body tissues (fluid retention), low blood sodium level (hyponatraemia) or seizures (convulsions).

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while being treated with this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.

The following medicines may increase the release of natural antidiuretic hormone in the body and may therefore increase the risk of water retention with this medicine:

  • carbamazepine
  • chlorpromazine
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eg indometacin
  • SSRI antidepressants such as fluoxetine
  • tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline.

If you are taking any of these medicines you should carefully follow instructions about restricting your fluid intake, because these medicines may increase the risk of fluid retention and decreased concentration of sodium in the blood. Your doctor may want to monitor the level of sodium in your blood more frequently.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

DDAVP injection DDAVP intranasal solution DDAVP tablets
DesmoMelt DesmosprayDesmotabs
Octim nasal spray