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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2007 Mar-Apr;73(2):133-7.

Use of fumaric acid esters in psoriasis.

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Department of Dermatology, Dermatologikum, Hamburg, Germany.


Fumaric acid esters (FAE) are chemical compounds derived from the unsaturated dicarbonic acid fumaric acid. The usage of FAEs in treatment of psoriasis was introduced in the late 1950's. In the 1980s more standardized oral preparations of FAEs were developed containing dimethylfumarate (DMF) and salts of monoethylfumarate (MEF) as main compounds. In 1994, Fumaderm an enteric-coated tablet containing DMF and calcium, magnesium and zinc salts of MEF was approved for the treatment of psoriasis in Germany and since then has become the most commonly used systemic therapy in this country. Fumaric acids have been proven to be an effective therapy in patients with psoriasis even though the mechanisms of action are not completely understood. About 50-70% of the patients achieve PASI 75 improvement within four months of treatment and without any long-term toxicity, immunosuppressive effects or increased risk of infection or malignancy. Tolerance is limited by gastrointestinal side effects and flushing of the skin. This article reviews pharmacokinetics, uses, contraindications, dosages and side effects of treatment with FAEs.

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