Dimethyl Fumarate in the Treatment of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Patient Reported Outcomes and Perspectives

Patient Relat Outcome Meas. 2019 Dec 11;10:373-384. doi: 10.2147/PROM.S168095. eCollection 2019.


Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is a commonly prescribed oral medication for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) with a wide range of hypothesized downstream mechanisms of action. Randomized clinical trials have established its clinical efficacy by using standard objective clinical measures. However, MS is a chronic disease that, apart from physical ailments, can affect an individual's mood, psychosocial status, and quality of life which cannot be captured by using only objective assessment tools. Given the challenge of determining the efficacy of the treatment in a real-world clinical setting, the use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) may help us to better address these aspects of patient care and establish a more patient-centered approach to MS care. To date, a review of PubMed identified six studies which reported on PROs in patients who are taking DMF. In total, twelve different kinds of PRO measures were utilized and 6359 patients provided at least one form of PRO in these studies. Upon review of these studies, we were able to conclude that people with MS had decreased quality of life compared to the healthy population in the US. MS patients on DMF, however, had better health-related quality of life assessment scores compared to those using a placebo. Previous studies also suggested that DMF decreased work productivity impairment scores after one year of use compared to baseline. DMF was associated with less impairment in fatigue and depression scales along with improved treatment quality assessment and adherence scores. This review will present a brief synopsis of the published literature and will provide indications for future directions with respect to PROs and DMF in people with MS.

Keywords: dimethyl fumarate; multiple sclerosis; outcome measures; patient-reported outcomes; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review