Dimethyl sulfoxide (Intravesical)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 27, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Renal-Urologic Agent
Uses for dimethyl sulfoxide
Dimethyl sulfoxide is a purified preparation used in the bladder to relieve the symptoms of the bladder condition called interstitial cystitis. A catheter (tube) or syringe is used to put the solution into the bladder where it is allowed to remain for about 15 minutes. Then, the solution is expelled by urinating.
Interstitial cystitis is the only human use for dimethyl sulfoxide that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Claims that dimethyl sulfoxide is effective for treating various types of arthritis, ulcers in scleroderma, muscle sprains and strains, bruises, infections of the skin, burns, wounds, and mental conditions have not been proven.
Although other preparations of dimethyl sulfoxide are available for industrial and veterinary (animal) use, they must not be used by humans, because of their unknown purity. Impurities in these preparations may cause serious unwanted effects in humans. Even if dimethyl sulfoxide is applied to the skin, it is absorbed into the body through the skin and mucous membranes.
Dimethyl sulfoxide is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using dimethyl sulfoxide
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For dimethyl sulfoxide, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to dimethyl sulfoxide or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Studies on dimethyl sulfoxide have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of dimethyl sulfoxide in children with use in other age groups.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of dimethyl sulfoxide in the elderly with use in other age groups.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of dimethyl sulfoxide
The dose of dimethyl sulfoxide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of dimethyl sulfoxide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For bladder irrigation dosage form:
- For interstitial cystitis of bladder:
- Adults—50 mL (milliliters) of a 50% solution is instilled into the bladder and left there for fifteen minutes. The treatment is repeated every two weeks until relief is obtained; then the treatment is repeated less often.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For interstitial cystitis of bladder:
Dimethyl sulfoxide side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Nasal congestion
- shortness of breath or troubled breathing
- skin rash, hives, or itching
- swelling of face
Some patients may have some discomfort during the time dimethyl sulfoxide is being put into the bladder. However, the discomfort usually becomes less each time the medicine is used.
Dimethyl sulfoxide may cause you to have a garlic-like taste within a few minutes after the medicine is put into the bladder. This effect may last for several hours. It may also cause your breath and skin to have a garlic-like odor, which may last up to 72 hours.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about dimethyl sulfoxide
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- En español
- Drug class: miscellaneous genitourinary tract agents
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.