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  • dapsone  (DAP-sone)A drug used to treat acne. It is also used to treat other types of skin diseases and certain bacterial infections, such as leprosy. It blocks bacteria from making a substance that they need to grow. Dapsone is a type of antibacterial agent and a type of anti-inflammatory agent.

Information about Dapsone

Dapsone is a sulfonamide related drug used for the therapy of leprosy and dermatitis herpetiformis. Dapsone has been linked with rare cases of idiosyncratic liver injury, similar to that seen with the sulfonamides.

Mechanism of action of Dapsone

Dapsone (dap' sone) is 4,4’ diaminodiphenylsulfone and is bacteriostatic for Mycobacterium leprae. Like other sulfonamides, dapsone is believed to act by inhibition of folate synthesis. bacteria including M. leprae are acutely sensitive to this inhibition as folate is necessary for protein, DNA and RNA synthesis. In contast, humans are not affected by this inhibition of folate synthesis because they rely upon dietary sources of folate.

FDA approval information for Dapsone

Dapsone was approved for use in the United States in 1979.

Clinical use of Dapsone

Current indications include leprosy and dermatitis herpetiformis. Off-label uses include prophylaxis against pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly carinii) in HIV infected patients.

Dosage and administration for Dapsone

Dapsone is available in multiple generic forms in tablets of 25 and 100 mg. Dapsone is usually started at a low dose in the range of 50 mg daily and titrated upward to a total daily dose of 100 to 300 mg. In the therapy of leprosy, the combination of dapsone with clofazimine and rifampin is recommended for 6 or 12 months followed by monotherapy with dapsone until all signs of clinical activity are controlled and biopsies are negative for at least a year. Up-to-date and reliable information on the management of leprosy is available from the National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Clinical Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Dapsone is also available as a topical gel for therapy of acne.

Side effects of Dapsone

Common side effects of oral dapsone include hemolysis and anemia, nausea, abdominal pain, tinnitus, vertigo, blurred vision, headache, insomnia, and rash. Dapsone is not uncommonly associated more severe side effects including peripheral neuropathy, acute psychosis, nephrotic syndrome, acute liver injury, hemolysis, agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, hypersensitivity reactions and a lupus-like syndrome.

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