Is Dimethyl Sulfoxide compatible with breastfeeding? Do we have alternatives for Dimethyl Sulfoxide?

Dimethyl Sulfoxide

May 13, 2018 (Low Risk)

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) and as topical, cutaneous and intravesical antalgic anti-inflammatory agents (Rawls 2017).

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).


Very Low Risk

Compatible. Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use a safer alternative. Read the Comment.

Very High Risk

Not recommended. Cessation of breastfeeding or alternative.


  • Methyl Sulphoxide


  • Διμεθυλσουλφοξείδιο (Greek)
  • Диметилсульфоксид (Cyrillic)
  • 二甲亚砜 (Chinese)
  • ジメチルスルホキシド (Japanese)
  • C2 H6 OS (Molecular formula)
  • DMSO (Abbreviation)
  • G04BX13 (ATC Code/s)
  • M02AX03 (ATC Code/s)


  1. PanReac. Dimetilsulfoxido. Fiche de seguridad. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  2. Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo (INSHT). Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  3. Rawls WF, Cox L, Rovner ES. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as intravesical therapy for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: A review. Neurourol Urodyn. 2017Abstract
  4. Marren K. Dimethyl sulfoxide: an effective penetration enhancer for topical administration of NSAIDs. Phys Sportsmed. 2011Abstract
  5. Acofarma. Dimetilsulfóxido. Ficha de seguridad. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  6. INSHT-España. Dimetil sulfóxido. Fichas Internacionales de Seguridad Química. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  7. 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 (in our servers)
  8. Turnbull BC, MacGregor I, Stringer HC. The enhancing effect of dimethylsulfoxide vehicle upon the anti-viral actions of 5-iododeoxyuridine. N Z Med J. 1969Abstract
  9. Baker H. The effects of dimethylsulfoxide dimethylformamide and dimethylacetamide on the cutaneous barrier to water in human skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1968Abstract