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Dapsone is an oral antibacterial medication that is used mainly in the treatment of leprosy, a rare disease caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy is curable and receiving early treatment reduces the risk of permanent disabilities or disfigurement as Leprosy affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. This infection still occurs in more than 100 countries worldwide, with 14 countries in Africa, Asia and South America accounting for 95% of all new cases of leprosy.
Bacterial cells require folic acid (folate) to produce DNA so they are able to grow and multiply in numbers. When taken as directed, Dapsone works by preventing the bacteria from producing the folate needed to multiply and any remaining bacteria will be killed by your immune system or eventually die off.
Dapsone may be prescribed in the treatment of a skin condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis that causes an itchy blistering rash. There is a strong link between this condition and celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the small intestine from eating gluten. People with dermatitis herpetiformis also have sensitivity to gluten, which causes the skin rash.
Your doctor can recommend an Rx for Dapsone to treat Pneumocystis jiroveci, also known as PCP, a parasite that can cause chest infections in immuno-suppressed individuals. This includes those with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Before taking Dapsone, be sure to advise your doctor of any allergies or medical conditions you have and provide a list of all over the counter medications and prescription drugs that you currently take or use to be sure that Dapsone is safe for you. Dapsone pills contain lactose and may not be suitable for everyone. Seek advice from your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before beginning treatment with Dapsone.
Dapsone should not be used by people with severe anemia, severe G6PD deficiency, or hereditary blood disorders known as porphyria. Dapsone may make you more sensitive to the sun. You should avoid tanning beds and wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors. To prevent stomach upset, some patients take Dapsone with food.
Unexplained bruising or bleeding, purple spots, sore throat, mouth ulcers, or high temperature (fever) should be reported to your doctor immediately.