Nocturia is one of the most common causes of sleep loss, affecting more than half of men and women over the age of 50.

Waking at night

Nocturia (or the need to wake up at least once a night to urinate) is one of the most common causes of sleep loss affecting more than half of men and women over the age of 50. Recent figures show that nearly 40 million adults in Europe regularly have their sleep disrupted by the need to pass urine, causing daytime tiredness and, subsequently, health and psychological problems.

Importance of sleep

Sleep serves many vital functions such as conservation of energy, rehabilitation, repair and metabolism, but more significantly, it enhances cognitive function and extends life expectancy.

It is not the overall length of sleep that matters, but an adequate length of uninterrupted sleep. Five or six hours of undisturbed sleep are far more beneficial than ten hours of disturbed sleep.

The most important and deepest form of sleep occurs early on in the night, generally during the first three to four hours. Being woken during this phase of sleep has the biggest impact on the daytime performance of an individual.

Nocturia – a medical condition

At night, the body naturally increases the release of an antidiuretic hormone, called vasopressin, to reduce the volume of urine produced to about a third of the total daily output. This limits the need to empty the bladder during sleep. However, in many cases of nocturia, the average volume of urine produced during the night is greater than the amount the bladder can hold.

Nocturia has recently been recognised as a separate medical condition rather than a symptom of another disorder. It is usually caused by an imbalance between night-time urine production and bladder capacity. Recent research suggests that an overproduction of urine is the cause of the majority of all nocturia cases.

Treating nocturia

Nocturia can be treated by reducing the volume of urine produced while a person sleeps. Ferring has a unique product that works in a similar way to the body’s own physiological system which concentrates urine, thus reducing the volume produced.

MINIRIN® (desmopressin) is the first treatment specifically licensed for nocturia. It is a peptide-based synthetic analogue of the human antidiuretic hormone, vasopressin. It mimics the action of vasopressin in the kidneys to increase the reabsorption of water thereby reducing the volume of urine produced. MINIRIN is fast acting and the duration of action spans the duration of a night.

When taken before bedtime, MINIRIN increases the mean duration of sleep by at least two hours by reducing the need to urinate during the night. More than 30 per cent of patients using MINIRIN experience an undisturbed first period of sleep of over five hours.


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