Diroximel fumarate (Vumerity)
Diroximel fumarate is a treatment for 'active' relapsing MS. Its brand name is Vumerity.
In Scotland, England and Wales you can have diroximel fumarate if:
- you have ‘active’ relapsing MS. That means you’ve had a recent relapse and/or MRI scans show that you have new lesions.
Towards the end of 2021 the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency gave the green light for diroximel fumarate to be used to treat MS. In February 2022 it was approved for use on the NHS in Scotland. In April 2022 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also approved it, so the drug is now also available on the NHS in England and Wales.
We expect a decision for Northern Ireland to come within a few months after the NICE decision in April.
We don’t know exactly how this drug 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. Diroximel fumarate 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.