Generic Name: dapsone (DAP-sone)
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Leprostatic
Chemical Class: Sulfone
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 1, 2020.
Uses for dapsone
Dapsone , a sulfone, belongs to the family of medicines called anti-infectives.
Dapsone is used to treat leprosy (Hansen's disease) and to help control dermatitis herpetiformis, a skin problem. When it is used to treat leprosy, dapsone may be given with one or more other medicines. Dapsone may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Dapsone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using dapsone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For dapsone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to dapsone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Although there is no specific information comparing use of dapsone in children with use in other age groups, dapsone is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of dapsone in the elderly with use in other age groups.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking dapsone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using dapsone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using dapsone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of dapsone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Anemia (severe) or
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency or
- Methemoglobin reductase deficiency—There is an increased risk of severe blood disorders and a decrease in red blood cell survival
- Liver disease—Dapsone may on rare occasion cause liver damage
Proper use of dapsone
For patients taking dapsone for leprosy:
- To help clear up your leprosy completely or to keep it from coming back, it is very important that you keep taking dapsone for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few weeks or months. You may have to take it every day for as long as 3 years or more, or for life. If you stop taking dapsone too soon, your symptoms may return.
- Dapsone works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses. Also, it is best to take each dose at the same time every day. If you need help in planning the best time to take your medicine, check with your health care professional.
For patients taking dapsone for dermatitis herpetiformis:
- Your doctor may want you to follow a gluten-free diet. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
The dose of dapsone will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of dapsone. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For Hansen's disease (leprosy):
- Adults and teenagers—50 to 100 milligrams (mg) once a day; or 1.4 mg per kilogram (kg) (0.6 mg per pound) of body weight once a day. Dapsone should be taken with other medicines to treat Hansen's disease.
- Children—Dose is based on body weight. The usual dose is 1.4 mg per kg (0.6 mg per pound) of body weight once a day. Dapsone should be taken with other medicines to treat Hansen's disease.
- For dermatitis herpetiformis:
- Adults and teenagers—50 mg once a day to start. Your doctor will increase your dose, up to 300 mg once a day, until your symptoms are controlled. Then your dose will be decreased to the lowest dose that will still control your symptoms.
- Children—Dose is based on body weight. The usual dose is 2 mg per kg (0.9 mg per pound) of body weight once a day to start. Your doctor will increase your dose until your symptoms are controlled. Then your dose will be decreased to the lowest dose that will still control your symptoms.
- For Hansen's disease (leprosy):
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 go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
You may skip a missed dose if it does not make your symptoms come back or get worse. If your symptoms do come back or get worse, take the missed dose as soon as possible.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using dapsone
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits.
If your symptoms do not improve within 2 to 3 months (for leprosy), or within a few days (for dermatitis herpetiformis), or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Dapsone side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Back, leg, or stomach pains
- bluish fingernails, lips, or skin
- difficult breathing
- loss of appetite
- pale skin
- skin rash
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Itching, dryness, redness, scaling, or peeling of the skin, or loss of hair
- mood or other mental changes
- numbness, tingling, pain, burning, or weakness in hands or feet
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- trouble in sleeping
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about dapsone
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
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- Drug class: leprostatics