Dimethyl Fumarate

Dimethyl Fumarate treats multiple sclerosis. To reduce flushing, take this medication with food.

Dimethyl Fumarate Overview

Reviewed: December 11, 2013
Updated: 

Dimethyl fumarate is a prescription medication used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Dimethyl fumarate belongs to a group of drugs called Nrf2 activators. It is thought to work by decreasing inflammation and preventing nerve damage that can lead to symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily, with or without food. Swallow capsules whole and intact. Do not crush, chew, or sprinkle capsule contents on food.

Common side effects of dimethyl fumarate include flushing, stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea.

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Dimethyl Fumarate Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Dimethyl Fumarate

Dimethyl fumarate is a prescription medication used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, or MS. It is not known if eimethyl fumarate is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Dimethyl Fumarate Brand Names

Dimethyl Fumarate may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Dimethyl Fumarate Drug Class

Dimethyl Fumarate is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Dimethyl Fumarate

Serious side effects have been reported. See "Dimethyl Fumarate Precautions".

Common side effects of dimethyl fumarate include:

  • flushing (taking dimethyl fumarate with food or taking a non-enteric coated aspirin before taking dimethyl fumarate may help reduce flushing)
  • redness
  • itching
  • rash
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • indigestion

This is not a complete list of dimethyl fumarate side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dimethyl Fumarate Interactions

No dimethyl fumarate drug interactions have been identified. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Dimethyl Fumarate Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with dimethyl fumarate including:

  • Lymphopenia. Lymphopenia is a decreased number of white blood cells. White blood cells are cells of your immune system that help your body fight infection. Your doctor will want to monitor for lymphopenia by ordering blood tests.
  • Flushing. Flushing is warmth, redness, itching, and/or burning sensation of the face. Taking dimethyl fumarate with food may reduce this side effect.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). One patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) who was being treated with Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) developed a rare and serious brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), and later died. The patient who died was not taking any other drugs that affect the immune system or drugs that are thought to be associated with PML. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following symptoms: new or worsening weakness; trouble using your arms or legs; or changes to thinking, eyesight, strength or balance.

Do not take dimethyl fumarate if you are allergic to dimethyl fumarate or to any of its ingredients.

 

Dimethyl Fumarate Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of dimethyl fumarate, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking dimethyl fumarate, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to dimethyl fumarate or to any of its ingredients
  • any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Dimethyl Fumarate and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. It is not known if dimethyl fumarate will harm your unborn baby.

If you become pregnant while taking dimethyl fumarate, talk to your doctor about enrolling in the dimethyl fumarate pregnancy registry. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-800-456-2255. The purpose of this registry is to monitor the health of you and your baby.

Dimethyl Fumarate and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if dimethyl fumarate crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using dimethyl fumarate.

Dimethyl Fumarate Usage

Take dimethyl fumarate exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.

  • Dimethyl fumarate can be taken with or without food.
  • If you experience flushing, taking dimethyl fumarate with food or taking a non-enteric coated aspirin before taking dimethyl fumarate may help reduce flushing.
  • Swallow dimethyl fumarate whole. Do not crush, chew, or sprinkle capsule contents on food.
  • Protect dimethyl fumarate from light. You can do this by storing the capsules in their original container. Throw away opened dimethyl fumarate after 90 days.

Dimethyl Fumarate Dosage

Take dimethyl fumarate exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.

  • The recommended starting dose is one 120 mg capsule taken by mouth 2 times a day for 7 days.
  • The recommended dose after 7 days is one 240 mg capsule taken by mouth 2 times a day.

Dimethyl Fumarate Overdose

If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If this medication is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store at 15°C – 30°C (59-86°F).
  • Protect the capsules from light. Store in original container.
  • Once opened, discard bottles of dimethyl fumarate after 90 days.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.