Dimethyl fumarate in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: rationale, mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, efficacy and safety

Expert Rev Neurother. 2015 Apr;15(4):339-46. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2015.1025755.


Dimethyl fumarate (DMF), a fumaric acid ester, is a new orally available disease-modifying agent that was recently approved by the US FDA and the EMA for the management of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Fumaric acid has been used for the management of psoriasis, for more than 50 years. Because of the known anti-inflammatory properties of fumaric acid ester, DMF was brought into clinical development in MS. More recently, neuroprotective and myelin-protective mechanism actions have been proposed, making it a possible candidate for MS treatment. Two Phase III clinical trials (DEFINE, CONFIRM) have evaluated the safety and efficacy of DMF in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Being an orally available agent with a favorable safety profile, it has become one of the most commonly prescribed disease-modifying agents in the USA and Europe.

Keywords: dimethyl fumarate; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; immunology; multiple sclerosis; pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Dimethyl Fumarate* / chemistry
  • Dimethyl Fumarate* / pharmacokinetics
  • Dimethyl Fumarate* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dimethyl Fumarate