Dimethyl Sulfoxide (Intravesical)

Overview

Dimethyl sulfoxide is an effective treatment for the bladder condition interstitial cystitis. The patient receives the drug via a catheter tube or a syringe. The medication is only available with a prescription and is never self-administered. The solution remains in the patient's system for approximately 15 minutes before it is eliminated through the bladder and urination. Currently, the sole Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use in humans for dimethyl sulfoxide is for the treatment of interstitial cystitis.

There have been recent reports of this medication being effective in the treatment of certain kinds of ulcers, arthritis, sprains and strains of the muscles, burn injuries, various mental health ailments, and skin infections, although none of these claims is supported by scientific research or studies.

Do not take any dimethyl sulfoxide that is not provided and administered by your doctor in a sterile medical environment. Non-prescription drugs, such as those used by veterinarians or those which have industrial uses, can contain impurities that can be harmful to your health. Dimethyl sulfoxide is only available via prescription and is administered by a doctor, nurse, or another healthcare professional.

Patients will typically be administered dimethyl sulfoxide via catheter or syringe with the dosage administered once every two weeks. As the medication becomes effective, the frequency may be reduced. The pain and discomfort that can accompany the administration of the drug will typically dissipate after one or two treatments. If you experience a high level of discomfort or pain during the administration of dimethyl sulfoxide, inform your healthcare professional as there may be several options available for relief.

While there are no known major drug interactions associated with dimethyl sulfoxide, it is always best practice to inform your doctor and medical team of all the medications that you are currently taking. This includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as any over the counter medications and all supplements.

Current scientific studies do not indicate that dimethyl sulfoxide is harmful to pregnant women or women who are nursing. It is still advisable that you inform your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or are planning to become pregnant prior to beginning treatment.

Patients are advised to inform their doctors of any changes to their overall health and wellness when receiving treatment with dimethyl sulfoxide. If you begin treatment for another condition or if there are any changes to the way that you are taking your medications or the frequency with which you take them, let your doctor know.

Conditions Treated

  • Interstitial Cystitis

Type of Medicine

  • Renal/Urologic Agent

Side Effects

Like many medications, there is the chance that dimethyl sulfoxide may cause some unwanted side effects and symptoms. Some of these side effects can be serious, and if you experience any of those that are listed below it is advised that you contact your physician immediately for further medical advice.

Side Effects that Require Immediate Medical Attention:

  • Facial swelling

Some patients report that they experience a garlic aftertaste within a couple of minutes of the medication being administered. This taste can linger for a few hours, and patients may also have what is often described as "garlic breath" or emit a garlic scent from their pores. This odor may last for up to three days, but is not considered harmful.

While the side effects listed above are the most heavily reported, there are other symptoms that may occur while you are being administered dimethyl sulfoxide. If any of these side effects appear to worsen or last longer than just a few days, it is advisable that you inform your doctor. If you are uncertain whether your reaction warrants further medical attention, it is always best to err on the side of caution and inform your physician.

Dosage

Children who are prescribed dimethyl sulfoxide for the treatment of interstitial cystitis should follow the instruction of their doctor or pediatrician, as there is no defined dosage guideline for children.

Adults are typically administered 50mL of a solution that is 50% dimethyl sulfoxide which is given through a catheter tube. The solution remains in the bladder for a period of approximately 15 minutes before it is flushed out of the bladder via urination. Never attempt to self-administer this drug, as it should only be given by a nurse, doctor, or another healthcare professional. This medication can also be given via injection using a syringe.

At the beginning of the dimethyl sulfoxide course of treatment, the drug is administered once every other week until it becomes effective and patients achieve some relief. Following the initial period, the frequency of the dosage will likely be reduced.

Major Drug Interactions:

Prior to beginning your treatment with dimethyl sulfoxide, it is important to inform your doctor of all of the medications that you are currently using as well as those you may have stopped using recently. This includes all prescription and non-prescription medications, over the counter treatments, herbal remedies, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

Additionally, be sure to notify the presiding doctor of any changes to your overall health or wellness or if you have changed any medications or how you take them.

Warnings

While dimethyl sulfoxide is used in both industrial and animal instances, this drug is only approved by the FDA for use in humans as a treatment for interstitial cystitis. There have been reports of its efficacy in use for treating various muscle ailments, mental health issues, or skin conditions but these treatments are not backed by scientific research nor are they FDA approved.

Dimethyl sulfoxide should only be administered in a sterile environment by a healthcare professional and it is not a drug that is well-suited for self-administration. Using the drug for ailments that are not approved by the FDA is not recommended, nor is it advisable to use any dimethyl sulfoxide that is intended for use in animals or for industrial purposes. The drugs that are used in those instances may not be of the purity level that is required for safe use in humans.

There will likely be some pain and/or discomfort as the drug is introduced into the bladder, however, this will typically dissipate with each dosage. If you experience a severe level of pain or discomfort, inform the healthcare professional that is administering the treatment and request their advice on effective pain relief.

Currently, there are no studies that indicate that there is a higher instance of negative reactions or problems for people that are older, are pediatric patients, or are pregnant or nursing. Inform your healthcare provider of any allergies that you may have prior to beginning your dimethyl sulfoxide course of treatment. Be sure to include allergies to medications, food, animals, or any dyes or preservatives.

If you are pregnant, nursing, or intend to become pregnant in the near future, be sure to advise your doctor of these factors prior to beginning your dimethyl sulfoxide treatment. You should also let them know of any changes to your overall health profile.

Storage

As this drug is administered via syringe or catheter tube, there is no necessary protocol for proper storage. In fact, this drug will likely be administered on an in-patient basis for at least the first one or two doses. Dimethyl sulfoxide is only available with a prescription and should only be taken under medical advisement and supervision.

Summary

If you suffer from interstitial cystitis dimethyl sulfoxide may prove an effective course of treatment. This drug is only available with a prescription and is administered via a catheter tube or injected with a syringe. The 50% solution is introduced into the bladder and then flushed after 15 minutes. Patients typically receive treatment once every two weeks and then utilize a less frequent course of treatment once the drug becomes effective.

While there have been some reports of dimethyl sulfoxide proving effective in the treatment of various muscle and skin ailments as well as some mental health conditions, these results are not supported by any scientific research or testing. Dimethyl sulfoxide should only be administered by a healthcare professional in a sterile environment. It is not recommended that this drug ever be self-administered.