Tecfidera (scientifically known as dimethyl fumarate) is a prescription medicine indicated to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), which includes clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. Tecfidera is not indicated to cure but can only lessen the episodes of worsening MS.
Tecfidera belongs to the class of medicines called selective immunosuppressants. It works by reducing inflammation and preventing damage to the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Uses and Dosage
Tecfidera is typically prescribed in capsule form for oral use, usually taken twice a day, with or without food as instructed by a doctor. Taking the drug with food may help alleviate flushing, a potential side effect. Swallow the whole capsule with water, and do not crush or chew it, to avoid the risk of releasing the active ingredients all at once, which can increase the risk of side effects.
The recommended dosage for Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) may vary based on the patient and their specific condition. However, the typical starting dose for Tecfidera is 120mg twice per day orally. After one week, the dose should be increased to the maintenance dose of 240mg twice per day orally. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding dosage and timing of medication.
To achieve the best results, take Tecfidera regularly and stick to the dosing schedule prescribed by your doctor. Changing the dosage or frequency of use should only be done under medical supervision to avoid potentially worsening the medical condition being treated.
Common Side Effects of Tecfidera (Dimethyl Fumarate):
Serious Side Effects of Tecfidera (Dimethyl Fumarate):
- Changes in your thinking, memory, walking, balance, speech, eyesight, or strength
- Clumsiness of the arms or legs
- Dark urine
- Extreme tiredness
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Neck stiffness
- Pain in upper right side of your stomach
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe stomach pain
- Signs of an infection (fever, chills, persistent sore throat)
- Signs of brain infection or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (clumsiness, loss of coordination, weakness, mental changes)
- Skin sensitivity on one side of the body or face
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Weakness on one side of the body that worsens over time
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Form and Strength
Tecfidera (Dimethyl Fumarate) is available in the following forms and strengths:
· Tecfidera: Delayed Release Capsule
· Dimethyl Fumarate: Capsule
- Known hypersensitivity to dimethyl fumarate or any of the excipients of Tecfidera.
- Caution is advised for patients with pre-existing low lymphocyte counts.
- Tecfidera-associated flushing is likely to occur and can be uncomfortable for some patients.
- Concomitant use of drugs that are known to cause a decrease in lymphocyte counts may increase the risk for immunosuppression.
- Be careful of any signs of an allergic reaction while taking Tecfidera, and do not use this oral medication if you have a known hypersensitivity to dimethyl fumarate, proximal fumarate, monomethyl fumarate, or any inactive ingredients that may be contained in each capsule.
- Indications of a hypersensitive reaction include facial swelling, itching, skin rashes, severe dizziness, and breathing difficulties. If these symptoms appear, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long can I take Tecfidera?
Tecfidera can be taken for as long as it continues to have a clinical benefit and you are not experiencing intolerable or severe side effects.
When is the best time to take Tecfidera?
Tecfidera should be taken twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Is hair loss a side effect of Tecfidera?
Hair loss is not a reported side effect of Dimethyl-fumarate (Tecfidera, BG-12) however there appear to be some anecdotal occurrences. Hair re-grew over several months while the treatment was continued.