Diroximel fumarate is a treatment for 'active' relapsing MS. Its brand name is Vumerity.
Across the UK you can have diroximel fumarate (Vumerity) if:
- you have ‘active’ relapsing MS. That means you’ve had a recent relapse and/or MRI scans show that you have new lesions.
We don’t know exactly how diroximel fumarate (Vumerity) works, but it dampens down inflammation. This may be helpful in reducing the inflammation that causes damage in the brain and spinal cord of people with MS. This drug works very much like a DMT that’s been available in the UK since 2014 called dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera).
Diroximel fumarate is a tablet you take twice a day.
We’re still waiting for the final results from a two year long trial of this drug. But results so far suggest it’s similar to dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) in how good it is at reducing relapses. This new drug also reduces how many lesions people get by a significant amount.
For most people any side effects are mild or moderate.
The main side effect is flushing (going red in the face, neck or upper chest) or feeling hot. More than four in ten people in the trial had this happen. For most this stopped after a few weeks on the drug. Around one in three people had a stomach or gut issue. These were mostly mild and, in most cases, cleared up after the first month. About one in ten people got symptoms of a cold or chest infection.
A recent trial compared diroximel fumarate with the very similar DMT dimethyl fumarate, a drug already used to treat MS. This new drug caused far fewer of the stomach and gut side effects (stomach cramps, diarrhoea and feeling sick) that people often get on dimethyl fumarate.
Diroximel fumarate (Vumerity) isn’t licensed to be used during pregnancy. In animal studies it harmed the unborn. We need more studies into whether it can do this with people. Guidelines say it’s best to avoid getting pregnant while taking this drug, and that you should stop taking it if you think you’re pregnant.
Your neurologist may recommended that you keep taking it through your pregnancy if the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks. If you can get pregnant, talk over with your neurologist the benefits and risks of taking diroximel fumarate while pregnant, and whether to switch to a different DMT.
There’s no set time for the ‘washout period’ for this drug. This is how long it takes for levels of the drug in your body to reach a level where it’s safe to get pregnant.
If you and your partner want to have a child, discuss this with your neurologist. If you think you’ve become pregnant, let your medical team know at once. Never stop your DMT without first getting their advice.
It’s not clear if enough diroximel fumarate (Vumerity) gets into breast milk to be a risk. As this DMT is new, there no official guidelines yet about feeding a baby this way. Ask your medical team for advice.
If you can get pregnant, you should use reliable contraception while taking this drug (like the ‘pill’, condoms, an IUD or implant).