Dapsone

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Dapsone Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Dapsone used for?

Dapsone is commonly used to treat a certain type of skin disorder (dermatitis herpetiformis). It is also used with other drugs to treat Hansen’s disease. Dapsone belongs to a class of drugs known as sulfones. It works by decreasing swelling (inflammation) and stopping the growth of bacteria.

This medication will not work for viral infections (e.g., common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

How should I take Dapsone?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor.

Medications for heartburn/reducing stomach acid (e.g., large amounts of antacids, ranitidine, famotidine), or didanosine may prevent full absorption of dapsone into your bloodstream, possibly reducing its effectiveness. Therefore, separate your dose of dapsone from your doses of any of these products by at least 2 hours. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If you are taking dapsone for a skin disorder, your doctor may start you on a low dose of dapsone and gradually adjust your dose to control your disease. If you are taking this medication to treat Hansen’s disease or to prevent infections due to HIV, the drug is usually taken for years or for life.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on age and weight.

For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.

Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.

How do I store Dapsone?

Dapsone is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Dapsone in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Dapsone that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Dapsone down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Dapsone?

Before taking dapsone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar drugs such as sulfoxone; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: certain blood disorders (e.g., anemia, G6PD deficiency, methemoglobin reductase deficiency), liver disease, heart disease, lung disease, serious infection, very high blood sugar (diabetic ketosis).

If using this drug to treat Hansen’s disease, note that as your immune system helps fight the infection, you may notice skin sores worsening, and numbness/pain/tingling or muscle weakness. This may require special treatment, so tell your doctor right away if these symptoms occur.

This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Dapsone during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this Dapsone. This Dapsone is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Dapsone?

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, or blurred vision may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusually fast heartbeat, unusually fast breathing, bluish lips/skin, chest pain, mental/mood changes, muscle weakness, difficulty urinating.

This drug may rarely cause very serious low blood counts (bone marrow suppression) or liver disease. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of an infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding, unusual tiredness, pale skin, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, stomach/abdominal pain.

Dapsone can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Therefore, seek immediate medical attention if you develop any rash.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Dapsone?

Some products that may interact with this drug are: folic acid antagonists (such as pyrimethamine), nitrofurantoin, primaquine.

Other medications can affect the removal of dapsone from your body, which may affect how dapsone works. An example is saquinavir, among others.

Although most antibiotics are unlikely to affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, a few antibiotics (such as rifampin, rifabutin) can decrease their effectiveness. This could result in pregnancy. If you use hormonal birth control, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Dapsone may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Dapsone?

Dapsone may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Dapsone?

Dapsone may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Dapsone.

What is the dose of Dapsone for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Leprosy – Lepromatous

50 to 100 mg orally once a day for 2-5 years.

Usual Adult Dose for Leprosy – Tuberculoid

100 mg orally once a day for 6 months. Rifampin is additionally recommended to reduce the incidence of dapsone resistance. If the disease relapses, this regimen should be repeated.

Usual Adult Dose for Dermatitis Herpetiformis

50 mg orally once a day continued on a life-long basis. Dosage may be advanced to 300 mg/day. Dosage reduction to a minimum maintenance level as soon as possible is recommended.

Usual Adult Dose for Pneumocystis Pneumonia

100 mg orally once a day for 14 to 21 days. Used in combination with trimethoprim.

Usual Adult Dose for Pneumocystis Pneumonia Prophylaxis

100 mg orally twice a week. Therapy should be continued on a life-long basis. The addition of pyrimethamine appears to significantly increase the activity of dapsone for PCP prophylaxis.

Usual Adult Dose for Toxoplasmosis – Prophylaxis

100 mg orally twice a week continued on a life-long basis.

Dose Adjustments

Patients with high acetylation rates, or who are receiving treatment affecting acetylation may require an adjustment in dosage.

Precautions

When feasible, baseline and subsequent monitoring of liver function is recommended. If abnormal, dapsone should be discontinued until the source of the abnormality is established.

What is the dose of Dapsone for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Leprosy

1 to 2 mg/kg (up to 100 mg) orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pneumocystis Pneumonia Prophylaxis

> 1 month:

2 mg/kg/day (up to 100 mg) orally once a day.

Alternate dosing:

> 1 month:

4 mg/kg orally once weekly. Maximum dose = 200 mg.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Toxoplasmosis – Prophylaxis

> 1 month:

2 mg/kg/day (or 15 mg/m2) orally once a day. Maximum dose = 25 mg. Dapsone should be administered as part of combination therapy for prophylaxis of toxoplasmosis.

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Dapsone available?

Dapsone is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Dapsone, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 19, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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