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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 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 the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood cells.
Dapsone should be avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Dapsone treatment requires careful laboratory monitoring.
After one week, then monthly for the first 3 months:
Note that the use of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) to monitor diabetes mellitus is unreliable on dapsone.
Dapsone gel 7.5% once daily (trade name Aczone®) is available in the US and Australia for the 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.
If you are not based in New Zealand, we suggest you refer to your national drug approval agency for further information about medicines (eg, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and the US Food and Drug Administration) or a national or state-approved formulary (eg, the New Zealand Formulary and New Zealand Formulary for Children and the British National Formulary and British National Formulary for Children).
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