Desmopressin to prevent and treat bleeding in pregnant women with an inherited bleeding disorder: A systematic literature review

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Background: Although desmopressin (DDAVP) is an accessible and inexpensive hemostatic drug, its use in pregnancy is still debated due to safety uncertainties. Objectives: We aimed to review the safety and effectiveness of DDAVP in women with an inherited bleeding disorder during pregnancy and delivery. Methods: Databases were searched for articles up to July 25, 2022, reporting maternal and/or neonatal outcomes. PRISMA methodology for systematic reviews and meta-analyses was followed (PROSPERO CRD42022316490). Results: Fifty-three studies were included, comprising 273 pregnancies. Regarding maternal outcomes, DDAVP was administered in 73 women during pregnancy and in 232 during delivery. Safety outcome was reported in 245 pregnancies, with severe adverse events reported in 2 (1%, hyponatremia with neurologic symptoms). Overall, DDAVP was used as monotherapy in 234 pregnancies, with effectiveness reported in 153 pregnancies (82% effective; 18% ineffective). Regarding neonatal outcomes, out of 60 pregnancies with reported neonatal outcomes after DDAVP use during pregnancy, 2 children (3%) had a severe adverse event (preterm delivery n = 1; fetal growth restriction n = 1). Of the 232 deliveries, 169 neonates were exposed to DDAVP during delivery, and in 114 neonates, safety outcome was reported. Two children (2%) experienced a moderate adverse event (low Apgar score n = 1; transient hyperbilirubinemia not associated with DDAVP n = 1). Conclusion: DDAVP use during pregnancy and delivery seems safe for the mother, with special attention to the occurrence of hyponatremia and for the child, especially during delivery. However, due to poor study designs and limited documentation of outcomes, a well-designed prospective study is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of thrombosis and haemostasis : JTH
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • blood coagulation disorders, inherited
  • desmopressin
  • outcomes, maternal
  • outcomes, neonatal
  • pregnancy
  • review, systematic


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