Treat Type 1 von Willebrand Disease with Desmopressin

We often recommend desmopressin as a treatment option for our patients with type 1 von Willebrand disease. Desmopressin is a synthetic hormone which helps the body release more von Willebrand factor than it would normally. Desmopressin may not work for every patient. To see if desmopressin works for you or your child, you will need to have a desmopressin challenge test. It is important to note that desmopressin will not work in types 2 or 3 von Willebrand disease. Desmopressin can also be given by infusion into your vein or as an injection just under the skin. When using any form of desmopressin you or your child should restrict your fluid intake.


Stimate is the highly concentrated desmopressin used to treat von Willebrand disease. There is a weaker version used to treat bedwetting, but it will not work for bleeding. The weaker form is commonly available at retail pharmacies. Stimate typically needs to be a special order at your local pharmacy. Please make sure that if you or your child is using the nasal form of desmopressin that you receive the high concentration version called Stimate (there is also a low concentration version of desmopressin that you may be given which won’t be effective).

Some patients should not use desmopressin, including:

  • children under the age of two
  • pregnant women
  • elderly patients
  • patients with type 1 von Willebrand disease who have failed a challenge test