dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

The Effects of Multiple Sclerosis

What is dimethyl fumarate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Dimethyl fumarate is an oral disease-modifying agent used for treating relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Teriflunomide (Aubagio), Interferon beta-1a (Avonex), interferon beta-1b (Betaseron), glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), interferon beta-1b (Extavia), fingolimod (Gilenya), mitoxantrone (Novantrone), interferon beta-1a (Rebif), and natalizumab (Tysabri) are other disease modifying agents for multiple sclerosis. Although the exact mechanism of how dimethyl fumarate works is unknown, it is thought to have protective effects on the nervous system and anti-inflammatory properties. Dimethyl fumarate prevents the immune cells from attacking the central nervous system. Dimethyl fumarate reduces the number of annual relapses rate. The FDA approved dimethyl fumarate in March 2013.

What brand names are available for dimethyl fumarate?

Tecfidera

Is dimethyl fumarate available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for dimethyl fumarate?

Yes

What are the side effects of dimethyl fumarate?

The most common side effects associated with dimethyl fumarate treatment are flushing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. A decrease in white blood cell count also occurs. Patients should check their baseline white blood cell count or have a recently completed blood cell count (CBC) (within 6 months) before starting treatment. Increase in liver enzymes has also been reported in clinical studies.

Quick GuideMultiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

What is the dosage for dimethyl fumarate?

The recommended starting dose is one 120 mg capsule orally twice daily with or without food. After 7 days, the dose should be increased to the recommended maintenance dose of 240 mg twice daily. Dimethyl fumarate capsules should not be crushed, chewed, or sprinkled on food. Dosing should only begin after a recently completed (within 6 months) normal CBC (complete blood count).

Which drugs or supplements interact with dimethyl fumarate?

: No potential drug interactions were identified in clinical studies.

Is dimethyl fumarate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is not known whether Dimethyl fumarate is secreted into breast milk.

What else should I know about dimethyl fumarate?

What preparations of dimethyl fumarate are available?

Delayed-release capsules: 120 mg and 240 mg

How should I keep dimethyl fumarate stored?

Capsules should be stored at 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F). The capsules should be stored in the original container and protected from light.

Medically reviewed by John Cunha, DO

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

Last Editorial Review: 8/8/2017

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Reviewed on 8/8/2017
References
Medically reviewed by John Cunha, DO

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

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