You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this medication if you have:
- Been told you have low white blood cell counts
- An infection
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Tecfidera and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Tecfidera and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Dimethyl Fumarate to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
At this time, it is not entirely clear how dimethyl fumarate works to treat multiple sclerosis. It may work in a couple of ways.
Dimethyl fumarate activates a protein known as nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2). This protein is involved in protecting cells from the negative effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a term used to describe the cumulative damage to the body caused by the production of harmful chemicals produced during many normal body functions. Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in damage to myelin and nerves in MS.
Dimethyl fumarate may also have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce damage to myelin that occurs in people with MS.