What is Dapsone?
- Dapsone is an oral medication which is sometimes used to treat skin infections as well as other skin diseases. It is sometimes used for some hair loss conditions such as folliculitis decalvans
How is it Dapsone prescribed?
- Your doctor will advise how much and how often to take dapsone and whether it should be taken with vitamin E 800 IU per day.
- The maximum dose of dapsone is 200 mg daily
- Before starting, you will be asked to get blood tests done. The following are the tests may be ordered by your doctor : ( complete blood count, liver tests, bilirubin, kidney tests, urinalysis, G6PD test)
- Every week for the first 4 weeks you will be asked to monitor for shortness of breath, weakness or change in sensation in the hands or feet, sore throat and flu-like feeling and seek medical attention if this occurs. You will also get blood work done very frequently for the first 4 weeks
- Then every 2nd week for the next 8 weeks you will monitor for shortness of breath, weakness or change in sensation in the hands or feet, sore throat and flu-like feeling and seek medical attention if this occurs. You will also get blood work done a little bit less often (your doctor will advise you exactly how often)
- You will get liver and kidney tests very often for the first three months and then every 6 months
Who should not take Dapsone?
Dapsone is not a medication that can be used by everyone. Your physician will assess whether or not this medication is right for you.
- Do not take dapsone is you are allergic to dapsone
- Do not take dapsone if you have agranulocytosis (low blood counts of any kind)
- Do not take dapsone if you have allergy to sulfa drugs
- Do not take dapsone if you have G6PD deficiency
- Do not take dapsone if you have cardiovascular disease, liver disease or kidney disease
- Do not take dapsone if you are pregnant or breast feeding
Do any medications interact with Dapsone?
Tell your doctor if you are on any of these medications.
- Folic acid antagonists like methotrexate
What are the side effects of Dapsone?
Many side effects are possible with dapsone. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to understand all the side effects before starting. The following is a partial list of side effects that will prompt immediate medical attention:
- Drop in blood counts
- Drop in white blood cells called ‘agranulocytosis’. This leads to a serious drop in infection fighting cells known as neutrophils. The risk is about 1/250 and can be very serious due to increased risk of infection. It occurs on average at about 7 weeks.
- Decreased oxygen carrying ability of the red blood cells – this leads to blue lips, headaches and yawning
- Sore throat – especially after 4 weeks
- Acute psychosis (seeing and hearing things without them being there)
- Neuropathy – weakness in the muscles of hands and legs, including wasting of the hand muscles
- Atrophy of the optic nerve
- Nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis
- Gall bladder irritation/perforation
Under what situations should I stop Dapsone?
Stop dapsone and get medical attention right away if the following happens
- Stop if you develop swelling of the lips, shortness of breath, rash and seek medical attention
- Stop if you develop blue lips, yawning, and headaches
- Stop if you get a sore throat
- Stop if you develop vision changes
- Stop if you develop vomiting and abdominal pain
- Stop if you develop weakness in your hands or legs
- Stop if you feel unwell in any way