Dimethyl fumarate

K K Jain MD (Dr. Jain is a consultant in neurology and has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Originally released June 23, 2013; last updated July 23, 2017; expires July 23, 2020

Historical note and terminology

Dimethyl fumarate, the methyl ester of fumaric acid, is also known by its chemical name, dimethyl (E) butenedioate, (C6H8O). It was initially used as a fungicide to prevent the growth of mold on furniture. Due to allergic skin reactions, this application was banned in Europe in 1988. Dimethyl fumarate was discovered to be effective as treatment for psoriasis in 1959 in Germany. Fumaderm®, a proprietary formulation of fumaric acid in combination with 3 other esters, is approved in Europe as an oral therapy for psoriasis. In 2013, the FDA approved dimethyl fumarate as a first-line oral treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Approval was granted by the European Commission in 2014.

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