Fumaric Acid, Reader Comments

Reader comments about my page discussing the psoriasis treatment, Fumaric Acid.

This page displays selected comments from readers of this site about the Fumaric Acid page.

Gil Teva writes (February 7, 2004):

Hi Dave

Hope you are well.

This letter is about Fumaderm. I noticed that beside the fumaric acid esters, they also put another ingrediant in the pills. This material is not fumaric acid connected and is actually what helps with psoriasis. It is called in short DMF and is used in the plastic industry.

I also found a prove to what I am saying. They have two pills. One strong and one weak.

The weak has 30 milligram DMF and the strong has 120 milligram DMF. This is a change of 300 percent.

They also put fumaric acid salts in the pills. The amount is 67, 5 and 3 milligram in one pill and 87,5,3 in the other pill. The change in the amount of the 1 salt is 25 percent, while there is no change in the amount of the other salts. It is a 1/16 of the chanage of the DMF change.

DMF alone is known as a killer of immune cells.

It seems that Fumaderm is fooling the whole world.




Dave Replies: Gil, that dimethylfumarate (DMF, a fumaric acid ester) can lower lymphocyte counts (which may look like it’s a “killer of immune cells”) is well known. I would guess it’s probably a part of how it treats psoriasis. That the MMF (monomethylfumarate) is included as three kinds of salt isn’t really surprising, either.

That the “weak” pills have less DMF than the “strong” pills is to be expected, since it’s an active ingredient. Same with the MMF. Why you think the difference in the proportions of the active ingredients matters, I have no idea.

So, why is it that you think that Fumaderm is “fooling” anyone? Nothing you’ve written in this email is surprising, shocking, or otherwise appears as if Fumedica is attempting to deceive anyone.

Gil Teva writes (later on February 7, 2004):

Dear Dave

DMF is not fumaric acid, and has no chemical connnection to it at all.

They call their product “fumaric acid ester” and attach the medical qualities to it, while the job is not done by fumaric acid, but by a chemical solvent called DMF, used in the plastic industry, a bit like terpentine.

Dimethylfumarate or DMF is not fumaric acid ester, and has no connection to it.

They focus us on the fumaric acid, but aparantly this accid does not help the psoriasis.

The pulls has two main parts: 1 is the fumaric acid salts. 2 is the DMF.

To make a strong pill they increase part 2 and not part 1. meanning that part 2 is what helps.


Gil Teva writes (later, before I had a chance to reply, on February 7, 2004):


Its seems that there are two materials:

1. Dimethylformamide — a solvent used for plastic industry. Has nothing to do with fumaric acids. Called also DMF. Has antipsoriatic properties.

2. Dimethylfumarate.
http://www.fumedica.de/arzt_eng/fumar_eng.htmBroken Link
Made by fumedica

Fumaderm claim that the antipsoriatic properties of Dimethylfumarate are known and published, but the fat is that Dimethylformamide (DMF) is such.

Some articles I found say that they put DMF, maybe by mistake.

Dave Replies: Gil, everything I’ve ever read about fumaric acid esters talks about dimethylfumarate.

PubMed (a medical literature database) lists 2,037 articles which mention dimethylformamide, but not a single one of them mentions psoriasis, so I don’t know where you got the idea that it has antipsoriatic properties.

On the other hand, a PubMed search for dimethylfumarate results in 31 articles, 17 of which mention psoriasis.
Verify it for yourself: go to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed and enter the words in the search box. Use the wildcard keyword “psoria*” to make sure your searches return all variations on the word.

You appear to have your DMFs confused. Nobody is treating psoriasis with dimethylformamide. In fact, it appears that nobody has ever even suggested treating psoriasis with dimethylformamide. The treatment of psoriasis with dimethylfumarate is widely reported, and to make a case that the researchers really meant “dimethylformamide” when they wrote “dimethylfumarate” is going to take more evidence than you’ve presented so far (which is none).

Also, to answer a part of your earlier email, what the different proportions the different salts which are included in the products may or may not mean requires more than a comparison of amounts. While MMF is generally less effective than DMF, it is not completely ineffectual in treating psoriasis, and the effects of a combination of the two may be better than using either one alone. Your assumption that because two of the MMF salts don’t increase in absolute amount between the weak and strong pills, it means that those salts do nothing, is unsupported by evidence.

Gil Teva writes (still later on February 7, 2004):

In your site you call dimethylfumarate by the name DMF

DMF is known as a solvent,. See here.

If you go to pubmed
And click psoriasis and DMF, you get 10 articles. They relate to dimethylfumarate. They also make the same mistake like you did.

If you go to google, and click DMF and Dimethylformamide , you receive hundreds of links.Dimethylformamide is called DMF.

Dimethylfumarate is not DMF, by the common name of DMF.


Dave Replies: Gil, there can be many, many terms abbreviated in the same way. If you do a Google search for just “DMF,” you will find that it also stands for:

Dreyfus Municipal income Fund
Disaster Management Facility
Distributed Monitoring Framework
Dance Music Finder
Division of Marine Fisheries
Digital Money Forum
Digital Media Factory
Data Management Forum

Looking up “DMF” on MediLexicon gives us the following:

Decayed, Missing and/or Filled [teeth]
Dimethyl Formamide
Dimethyl Fumarate
Diphasic Milk Fever
Dose Modifying(Modification) Factors
Drug Master File

So please, Gil, why don’t you call up every dentist and tell them that when they make a note about a DMF tooth, they’re making a “mistake,” since they’re actually talking about dimethylformamide. Call up Wall Street, and tell them that investors in DMF are actually investing in a solvent, and not in Dreyfus.

Using Google to find “DMF dimethyl fumarate” also results in hundreds of web pages discussing dimethylfumarate, Gil. In fact, here’s a web page from a chemical company which sells dimethylfumarate, and they call it “DMF”:
That the abbreviation for dimethylfumarate is DMF is not a “mistake.” No particular chemical “owns” the abbreviation, and there is no official governing body anywhere (that I’m aware of) which says that DMF can only refer to dimethylformamide.

If you had to abbreviate dimethylfumarate, Gil, how would you do it?

Gil Teva writes (even still later on February 7, 2004):


Sigma Aldrich is the largest chemical company. If you click DMF you don’t see what you wrote.
You get only one product.

I think it is a mistake to call a chemical by the name of another common chemical. If you think it’s OK then use it.

Gil Teva

Dave Replies: Gil, no, if you go to www.sigmaaldirch.comBroken Link and search for DMF, you find 38 products, not “only one.” None of the 38 are dimethylfumarate, but so what? Sigma Aldrich does not set the standards for abbreviations. Their write-ups on dimethylfumarate, in fact, don’t display any abbreviations at all.

So it’s back to my question: how would you, Gil Teva, abbreviate the word “dimethylfumarate?”

That you think it is a mistake is something you could have said in your first email, but instead you chose to assume that Fumedica and various unnamed researchers were lying to people about what’s in Fumaderm. That is not my problem, and it’s not their problem. It’s your problem. When people are discussing psoriasis treatment, and specifically say they will be using the abbreviation DMF to mean “dimethylfumarate,” you should give them the benefit of a doubt, and assume that they are not suddenly changing their minds and discussing dimethylformamide.

Context is, after all, important. There are a lot of chemicals which have duplicate abbreviations. Again, it is coincidence that dimethylfumarate shares an obvious abbreviation with a common solvent. The people manufacturing psoriasis treatments certainly aren’t going to say, “whoops, we thought you meant to put 300 mg of a nasty solvent in the pills.” They will, after all, have the appropriate numerical designations, and not just a simple abbrevation, with which to make the drugs.