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Dimethyl sulfoxide (C 2 H 6 OS), or DMSO, is a sulfur-containing organic compound. DMSO occurs naturally in vegetables, fruits, grains, and animal products. DMSO was first synthesized in 1866 as a byproduct of paper manufacturing. Therapeutic interest began in 1963. DMSO was reported to penetrate through the skin and produce analgesia, decrease pain, and promote tissue healing. DMSO is available for both non-medicinal and medicinal uses. The major clinical use of DMSO is to relieve symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Potential toxic effects to the lens of the eye have been reported in animals but no effects have been noted in humans. Topical application has been associated with redness and inflammation of skin, and a garlic-like taste and odor on the breath have been reported. DMSO has been used to treat amyloidosis, diabetic ulcers, extravasation, erosive gastritis, and ischemia prevention in surgical flaps, but well designed clinical trials are lacking. Because of the limited scientific evidence, whether DMSO provides effective treatment of patients with closed head trauma, herpes zoster, tendopathies, and complex regional pain syndrome will require more research.