Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand,1997.
Dapsone is a sulphone antibiotic available for many years to treat leprosy. In New Zealand, 100 mg and 25 mg tablets are available.
Dapsone is used to treat various skin conditions including:
Dapsone treatment requires careful laboratory monitoring.
Dapsone should not be taken by anyone that is allergic to dapsone. Some patients with sensitivity to other sulphone antibiotics can tolerate dapsone.
The dose of dapsone may need to be lower than normal in people with significant heart or lung disease. This is due to the drug's effect on oxygen carrying capacity of blood cells.
Dapsone should be avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Usually, a blood test is performed as a base-line before starting dapsone. It is then checked after about a week on therapy, and then about once a month, depending on the dose and state of the blood count.
Follow instructions precisely regarding the timing of these tests.
Dapsone gel 7.5% once daily (trade name Aczone®) is available in the US and Australia for topical treatment of acne. It is usually well tolerated, but rarely causes the skin at the site of application to become dry and red. There is a low risk of haemolysis and the other side effects of oral treatment described above.
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