As a sofa-treating agent, dimethyl fumarate gave people blisters and rashes, but now it's getting a second chance—as a much ballyhooed multiple sclerosis drug called Tecfidera, whose sales could be enormous. Among doctors, there's "a strong consensus that Tecfidera offers a more favorable clinical profile than other oral or injectable first-line options," says an analyst. Indeed, some patients have reportedly been waiting for Tecfidera's FDA approval, which came yesterday, before starting any kind of MS treatment.
That's because the drug appears highly effective, with few side effects—plus, it's a pill, as opposed to an injection, the New York Times reports. While competitors like Gilenya require doctors to closely monitor patients for side effects, Tecfidera requires less oversight; its top side effect is flushing. Sold by Biogen Idec, it will be the third oral treatment to hit the $14 billion MS market. An analyst tells the Times that Tecfidera could hit $1.7 billion in sales by 2015 and $2.6 billion by 2017. (Read more Tecfidera stories.)