Dimethyl fumarate is utilized in the treatment of adults afflicted with various forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is a condition characterized by impaired nerve function, leading to symptoms like weakness, numbness, coordination difficulties, and issues with vision, speech, and bladder control.
Dimethyl fumarate belongs to the class of medications known as Nrf2 activators. Its mode of action involves reducing inflammation and safeguarding against nerve damage that can give rise to multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Uses and Dosage
Dimethyl fumarate is available in the form of delayed-release capsules, which release the medication in the intestine to safeguard it from degradation by stomach acids. These capsules are administered orally and are typically taken twice a day.
Maintain a consistent schedule by taking dimethyl fumarate at approximately the same times every day. Take dimethyl fumarate precisely as directed, refraining from altering the dosage or frequency without your doctor’s guidance.
Dimethyl fumarate can be taken with or without food. If you opt to take it with food or accompany it with a non-enteric coated aspirin (325 mg or less) 30 minutes before, you can minimize the likelihood of experiencing flushing during your treatment.
When ingesting the capsules, swallow them whole; do not chew or crush them, and do not open the capsules or sprinkle their contents onto food.
Your doctor will likely initiate your treatment with a low dose of dimethyl fumarate, which may be increased after 7 days.
While dimethyl fumarate may help manage multiple sclerosis, it is not curative. Even if you feel well, continue taking dimethyl fumarate as prescribed, and do not discontinue its use without consulting your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- warmth, redness, itching, or burning of the skin
- stomach pain
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- hives, rash, itching, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or hoarseness
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, painful and frequent urination, or other signs of infection
- headache, neck stiffness, fever, sensitivity to light, nausea, or confusion
- extreme tiredness
- loss of appetite
- pain in upper right side of your stomach
- dark urine
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- weakness on one side of the body that worsens over time
- burning, tingling, itching, or skin sensitivity on one side of the body or face with painful rash or blisters appearing several days later
Prior to initiating dimethyl fumarate treatment, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any known allergies, including allergies to dimethyl fumarate, diroximel fumarate, monomethyl fumarate, or any other allergens. This product may comprise inactive components capable of eliciting allergic reactions or other potential issues.
Before commencing this medication, provide your doctor or pharmacist with a comprehensive medical history, particularly if you have a history of low white blood cell counts, current infections, or liver disease.
Dimethyl fumarate has the potential to increase your susceptibility to infections or exacerbate existing infections. Steer clear of individuals who have contagious infections that can easily spread, such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, or the flu. If you have been exposed to an infection or require further details, consult your doctor.
Inform your healthcare professional about your use of dimethyl fumarate before undergoing any immunizations or vaccinations. Avoid close contact with individuals who have recently received live vaccines, such as the flu vaccine administered through the nasal route.
During pregnancy, this medication should only be employed when its benefits clearly outweigh the potential risks. Engage in a discussion with your doctor to assess these factors.
The extent to which this medication passes into breast milk remains uncertain. Prior to breastfeeding while using dimethyl fumarate, consult your doctor for guidance.
Form and Strength
Tecfidera is available in the following forms and strengths:
Tecfidera delayed-release capsule:
dimethyl fumarate capsule:
Can you drink alcohol while taking Tecfidera?
Alcohol does not cause any interactions with Tecfidera.
How long can you stay on Tecfidera?
Tecfidera can be taken for as long as it continues to have a clinical benefit and you are not experiencing intolerable or severe side effects.