7 Things you may not have known about DMSO use in horses - The Horse  Owner's Resource

Chance discovery Long known as an industrial solvent, dimethyl sulfoxide is a molecule that is now in the concern of physicians, biochemists, and pharmacological physiologists. Despite its simple structure, it passes through the skin and reaches the blood in record time. That fact alone. added to its unexpected effect against certain diseases, it keeps international controversy on fire.

DMSO or dimethyl sulfoxide is a substance that is obtained as a by-product of wood pulp. For some it is a drug that cures many ills, for others there is nothing proven. In fact every day it is used more as a liniment for muscle tears, sprains, contusions and to relieve the pain of swelling from gout and arthritis. The drug, still placed on the surface of the skin, quickly reaches the blood, as it has an absorption property. It has a little problem: as soon as it is absorbed, you immediately smell garlic on your breath. This is because when metabolized, a compound similar to allicin is produced, which is the essence of garlic. Read more about Medical grade DMSO Cream here.

Rigor in the permit

For some, DM50 (demso) is a superior drug to aspirin. For Others, like Dr. Frederick McDuffie of the Arthritis Foundation of the United States, there is nothing scientifically proven.

The Food and Drug Administration (in charge of drug control in the US, has so far rejected its authorization. It has only approved its use for a rare disease: “ interstitial cystitis. ” Despite this, the drug is available It is sold as a solvent, but not as a medicine, yet six US states have special laws in place to allow it to be sold as a medical drug (Oregon, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma).

DMS0 began to be used in the United States around 1960, when Herschler and Jacob, from the University of Oregon, became interested in it, for its strange property of penetrating the skin. The researchers thought it could be used as a vehicle for other drugs to pass quickly into the blood through the skin. They thought that this way injections could be avoided. But after a short walk, they realized that the drug relieved pain, swelling and was an anesthetic in burns. From there its use spread rapidly and the controversy also began.

Jacob, a professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Oregon, has treated more than 200 patients from arthritis to paralysis from spinal trauma. He has personally started a great campaign against the Food and Drug Administration, because it denies him the authorization for its sale as a medical drug.


The drug is being studied elsewhere and many of the benefits attributed to it have been confirmed. It can relieve localized pain when applied to the trauma site. It has also been described as a powerful diuretic (increases urine). If injected intravenously, it increases urine output tenfold. Its ability to absorb water is, perhaps is what explains its favorable effect on swelling. In animals, it has been shown to limit the effects of nerve trauma, depress the immune response, and in cells “in vitro” it prevents radiation damage.

It has been shown to be useful in the treatment of “scleroderma,” a disease that causes lack of elasticity of connective tissue and thickening of the skin. Dr. John Ward of the University of Utah says it has had very good treatment results of finger ulcers of patients with scleroderma.

Dr. Alan Pestronk and Daniel Drackman of John Hopkins University (USA) are studying the effects that the drug has on the immune system. They inject it into rats, which have been experimentally produced “Myasthemia gravis“ (the disease that Aristotle (Onassis) had. This ailment is caused by an alteration of the immune system where an abnormal amount of antibodies is produced that prevents the Muscle cells respond to nerve stimuli In rats with “Myasthemia gravis”, receiving the drug produces a 70% decrease in the production of these antibodies, without affecting the elimination of other antibodies that are necessary to defend against infections


Among the most dramatic effects of the drug is its ability to protect the brain during surgical procedures or after brain injuries. Dr. Maurice Albin of the University of Texas (Department of Health Sciences) described these effects in dogs, demonstrating that injection of DM50 protects the brain against trauma damage. Albin thinks the drug traps substances released by traumatized cells that could damage neighboring cells. Dr. Harold Paxton and associates (Whitman Institute for Neuroscience in Walla Walla, Washington) state that DM50 reduces intracranial pressure. They think that there is a relaxation of the blood vessels of the brain which facilitates the drainage of excess fluid. This combined with its strong diuretic properties,

Cancer researchers are also interested in the drug. David Housman and Robert Levenson of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), have found that in test tubes, DMSO reverses malignant cells and transforms them into normal ones. This finding, they say, does not have immediate application in cancer treatment, but it may help researchers better understand the development of the disease.

Hydrophilic molecule

How can a substance exercise so many different elects? For now, there are only hypotheses that it powerfully attracts water molecules. Wherever the water is, DMS0 follows it and sometimes replaces water molecules in biological structures. Do not forget that in the human body 70% is water. According to Harry Szman of the University of Detroit, there is no other known substance that may have the ability to penetrate into tissues like DMS0 does. “

According to Albin, DMSO soaks into chemicals and seems to change the permeability of cell membranes.

DMSO has a unique characteristic of passing through the skin and passing the bloodstream. There is almost no substance that DMSO does not dissolve and therefore can be dangerous when passing toxic or poisonous substances through the skin. Kent Stenzel of Cornell Medical College suggests that it might help pollutants from the environment pass through the skin. Special care must be taken not to use DMS0 that has not been perfectly purified. Industrial DMS0 irritates the skin.

Because DMSO is a very good vehicle, it should not be used in combination with other substances such as digital insulin. Pregnant women should not use it, because in experimental animals it has caused fetal malformations. Excessive doses of DMS0 destroy red blood cells and increase bleeding time. It has also been reported to cause eye injuries.

Perhaps for all this, the Food and Drug Administration, has not granted the go-ahead. Furthermore, it prohibits the use of the drug in human research and warns that whoever is using it is taking a risk. Despite this, no cases have been described in which it has been really harmful.

The controversy continues. A book has recently been written about her; “The persecuted drug: history of the DM50”. In Buffalo, the Food and Drug Administration is withdrawing it from commerce and has even requisitioned the book, thus justifying its “Demsoaversion.”