Last update March 23, 2021

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO)

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

An organosulfur compound used as a solvent in industry and in medicine as an excipient in order to increase the percutaneous absorption of other substances (Marren 2011, Turnbull 1969, Baker 1968).
Medically it is used, without clear evidence of efficacy (Brien 2011), as topical, cutaneous and intravesical antalgic anti-inflammatory agents (Rawls 2017).
It is metabolised by oxidation to dimethyl sulfone

In industrial management there are no established TLVs. It causes irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes (PanReac 2017, INSHT 2010).

It is eliminated via the skin and breathing, producing a garlic-like odour.

Since the last update date we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

Following dermal or bladder application, absorption through the skin or mucous membranes is high and rapid so its excretion in milk is likely.

With regard to occupational risks for breastfeeding mothers (INSHT 2017 and 2008, EC Regulation 2008), the risk phrases (formerly R phrases, currently H-phrases for Hazard) or of precautionary (P-phrases) that should appear on a product’s safety data sheet are only two:
- H362 (ant. R64): "It may harm children who are breastfed"
- P263: "Avoid contact during pregnancy and breastfeeding”.
Another three phrases that should be considered during breastfeeding are related to the carcinogenic, mutagenic or cumulative effects of a product:
- H351 (ant. R40): "Possible carcinogenic effects"
- H371 (ant. R68): "Possibility of irreversible effects"
- H373 (ant. R33) : "Danger of cumulative effects”

Based on the absence of these phrases in the Dimethyl sulfoxide Safety Data Sheet (INSHT 2010, Acofarma 2010), it would not be necessary to remove the breastfeeding mother from her workplace, it would be enough for the company to meet the legal requirements regarding the maximum levels of environmental exposure and for the employee to follow recommended rules of caution (gloves, hand and face washing, change of clothes, etc.) (PanReac 2017, INSHT 2010, Acofarma 2010).

See below the information of this related product:

  • Methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)


  • Arnica (topical use) (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)
  • Ketoprofen (Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is also known as

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 100 %
Molecular weight 78 daltons
VD 0.5 l/Kg
Tmax 4 - 8 hours
11 - 14 hours


  1. INSHT - Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo. Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. - 2022 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Rawls WF, Cox L, Rovner ES. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as intravesical therapy for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: A review. Neurourol Urodyn. 2017 Abstract
  3. PanReac. Dimetilsulfoxido. Fiche de seguridad. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  4. Brien S, Prescott P, Lewith G. Meta-analysis of the related nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide and methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:528403. Abstract
  5. Marren K. Dimethyl sulfoxide: an effective penetration enhancer for topical administration of NSAIDs. Phys Sportsmed. 2011 Abstract
  6. Acofarma. Dimetilsulfóxido. Ficha de seguridad. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  7. INSHT-España. Dimetil sulfóxido. Fichas Internacionales de Seguridad Química. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  8. - REGULATION (EC) No 1272/2008 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. Official Journal of the European Union. 2008 Full text (link to original source)
  9. . REGLAMENTO (CE) No 1272/2008 DEL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO Y DEL CONSEJO de 16 de diciembre de 2008 sobre clasificación, etiquetado y envasado de sustancias y mezclas. Diario oficial de la Unión Europea. 2008 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Turnbull BC, MacGregor I, Stringer HC. The enhancing effect of dimethylsulfoxide vehicle upon the anti-viral actions of 5-iododeoxyuridine. N Z Med J. 1969 Abstract
  11. Baker H. The effects of dimethylsulfoxide dimethylformamide and dimethylacetamide on the cutaneous barrier to water in human skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1968 Abstract
  12. Hucker HB, Miller JK, Hochberg A, Brobyn RD, Riordan FH, Calesnick B. Studies on the absorption, excretion and metabolism of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) in man. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1967 Feb;155(2):309-17. No abstract available. Abstract

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