Dimethyl sulfoxide and sodium bicarbonate in the treatment of refractory cancer pain

J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2011;25(1):19-24. doi: 10.3109/15360288.2010.536306.


Pain is a major concern of cancer patients and a significant problem for therapy. Pain can become a predominant symptom in advanced cancers. In this open-label clinical study, the authors have treated 26 cancer patients who have been declared as terminal without the option of conventional treatment. These patients suffered from high levels of pain that was poorly managed by all available interventional approaches recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) guideline. The results indicate that intravenous infusion of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and sodium bicarbonate (SB) solution can be a viable, effective, and safe treatment for refractory pain in cancer patients. These patients had pain due to the disease progression and complication of chemotherapy and radiation. Moreover, the preliminary clinical outcome of 96-day follow-up suggests that the application of DMSO and SB solution intravenously could lead to better quality of life for patients with nontreatable terminal cancers. The data of this clinical observation indicates that further research and application of the DMSO and SB combination may help the development of an effective, safe, and inexpensive therapy to manage cancer pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / administration & dosage
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / adverse effects
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pain, Intractable / drug therapy*
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / adverse effects
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / pharmacology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics
  • Drug Combinations
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide