A highly polar organic liquid, that is used widely as a chemical solvent. Because of its ability to penetrate biological membranes, it is used as a vehicle for topical application of pharmaceuticals. It is also used to protect tissue during cryopreservation. Dimethyl sulfoxide shows a range of pharmacological activity including analgesia and anti-inflammation. [PubChem]
For the symptomatic relief of patients with interstitial cystitis.
Dimethyl Sulfoxide may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic activities. Dimethyl Sulfoxide also readily penetrates cellular membranes. The membrane-penetrating ability of dimethyl sulfoxide may enhance diffusion of other substances through the skin. For this reason, mixtures of idoxuridine and dimethyl sulfoxide have been used for topical treatment of herpes zoster in the United Kingdom.
Mechanism of action
The mechanism of dimethyl sulfoxide's actions is not well understood. Dimethyl sulfoxide has demonstrated antioxidant activity in certain biological settings. For example, the cardiovascular protective effect of dimethyl sulfoxide in copper-deficient rats is thought to occur by an antioxidant mechanism. It is also thought that dimethyl sulfoxide's possible anti-inflammatory activity is due to antioxidant action.