What is Dimethyl Fumarate?
Dimethyl fumarate, which is the generic name for Tecfidera, is a Disease-Modifying Therapy (DMT) for relapsing MS. It is used to treat relapsing forms of MS, including relapsing-remitting disease, clinically isolated syndrome, and active secondary progressive disease. MS is basically a disease that leads to numbness, weakness, difficulties with vision and speech as the nerves do not function accurately in patients with MS.
Dimethyl fumarate helps patients with MS by reducing inflammation, assisting them with nerve damage, and preventing MS symptoms. If you are a patient suffering from MS or know someone who is relapsing with MS, dimethyl fumarate may help you or them. However, patients should not use it without proper precautions or physician consultation.
How do you Use Dimethyl Fumarate?
Dimethyl fumarate is a medicine that comes as a delayed-release with the brand name Techfidera. It is usually consumed two times per day. It is necessary for a patient to take it at almost the same hour each day. If you do not understand any part of the medicine, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist to follow the directions properly. Try not to take it less or more but consume it exactly as directed.
You may take dimethyl fumarate with or without a meal. But, those who take it with a non-enteric coated aspirin (325 mg or less) and wait for 30 minutes to take dimethyl fumarate are less likely to undergo flushing during their treatment. Taking dimethyl fumarate with a meal is preferred.
Never try to crush the capsule, instead, swallow them. You may need to take a low dose of dimethyl fumarate at the start but increase it gradually over a period of 7 days.
Basically, patients feel that medicine like dimethyl fumarate can cure diseases like MS. However, it does not work like that. It may help you to deal with MS in a better way by controlling symptoms. Yet it never cures MS totally. Never discontinue taking medicine without the guidance of a doctor, even if you feel a little better.
Precautions to Taking It
It is necessary to notice a few things before taking dimethyl fumarate. Those who have had a severe allergic reaction to Vumerity or dimethyl fumarate should never take it. Patients should tell their condition to the doctors in which they have to discuss if they have ever had an active infection or low white blood cell counts. It makes it easy for the doctor to decide whether the medicine should be given to you or not. Also, you should check the list of ingredients in order to understand if any element is likely to cause you an allergic reaction.
Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not hide it from their physicians. Those who are pregnant have a name list on a pregnancy registry. It’s because there is a need to follow the consequences of dimethyl fumarate on the baby. Its use is not allowed for anyone younger than 18.
You need to tell your doctor right away if you are taking any prescription or non-prescription medications, supplements, vitamins, or herbal products. This is because the medicine may react with any ingredient of any other element or supplement that leads to major health concerns. After determining the side effects, the doctor may reduce the dosage or alter it.
Infections, including chronic infections that last for a longer period, chickenpox, herpes zoster, or low white blood cell count, should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
Storage and Disposal of the Medication
Try to keep dimethyl fumarate medication in a tightly closed container. Keep it out of the reach of children and away from light. Keep the medication at room temperature and preserve it away from excessive heat and moisture. These are the fundamental guidelines to keep in mind in order to protect any medicine from harm.
What are the Side Effects of Dimethyl Fumarate?
An advantage always comes along with a disadvantage. Similarly, where dimethyl fumarate helps in controlling relapsing forms of MS, it may have some serious and common side effects.
Common side effects of dimethyl fumarate include:
- Redness, itching, warmth, and burning of the skin
However, other symptoms are more serious that may even lead to disability or death. Those who feel any of these symptoms should stop taking medicine instantly and call the physician for an emergency medical checkup.
These serious side effects include:
- Difficulty in breathing and swallowing
- Difficulty in vision
- Swelling and inflammation of throat, lips, face, tongue, eyes, feet, hands, ankles, and lower legs
- Serious kinds of rashes and itching
- The clumsiness of the legs and arms that gets worse with the passage of time
- Severe weakness on one side of the body
- Modifications occur in memory, thinking, and awareness that ultimately leads a patient to personality changes and confusion
- Extreme level fatigue and tiredness
- Severe pain in the upper right side of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Pale skin or intense yellow color of eyes
- Changes in memory, balance, walking, speech, strength, eyesight, and thinking; these changes last for a few days and seem ongoing
- Seizures and severe headaches
- Skin burning, tingling, and blisters on one side of the face or body that may last for a few days
You need to seek emergency care if you experience any of these symptoms while taking dimethyl fumarate.
Complications and Warning
Dimethyl fumarate has a special warning for people with weak brains or those who have had serious infections in the past. It has the tendency to cause a severe kind of brain infection that may lead to disability or even death. Those who feel a problem with thoughts, vision, speech, or muscle movement should call their doctor instantly before the symptoms get worse. Never ignore the warning of a medicine. However, if you have had no such issues and suffer from relapsing forms of MS, dimethyl fumarate (Techfidera) tends to help you deal with it.