Side effects when using DMSO as a topical cream or lotion are generally mild and include a strong garlic-like taste appearing in a patient's mouth for several hours, states Healthline. Patients could also give off a similar smell from their skin, which could last up to 72 hours.
Rarely, a patient may experience side effects such as swelling of the face, a skin rash, shortness of breath or sinus congestion, states Drugs.com. These are signs of a serious reaction to DMSO, and patients experiencing these side effects should contact their doctor immediately.
DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide, is a colorless liquid that is able to penetrate the skin and other biological membranes, according to Healthline. It was discovered in the 19th century in Germany, and doctors used it to treat a number of conditions, such as severe ulcers and scleroderma. However, its use slowed dramatically in the 1960s when the FDA cited several cases that suggested the drug had damaged the eyes of the animals it was tested on. In 1978, the FDA officially recognized DMSO as a treatment for a rare bladder condition called interstitial cystitis. However, as of 2015, research continues to explore other conditions that DMSO could potentially treat. Several scientists state that it has potential use in the treatment of cancer, arthritis, herpes and closed head trauma.