Dapsone - Oral

Pronunciation: DAP-sone

Common Brand Name(s): Avlosulfon

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Uses

This medication is 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.

Other Uses

This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

This drug may also be used for skin conditions in certain immune system disorders (such as systemic lupus erythematosus-SLE) or for a certain lung infection due to HIV (pneumocystis pneumonia). It may also be used to reduce the risk of a certain brain infection due to HIV (toxoplasmosis).

How To Use

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.

Side Effects

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

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

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. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

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.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

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.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, bluish skin (cyanosis), sudden vision changes, sudden loss of vision.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts/platelets, liver function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Iron, folic acid, and vitamin C might reduce the risk of developing a certain serious side effect (anemia). Ask your doctor for more details.

If you are using dapsone for dermatitis herpetiformis, a gluten-free diet may improve the condition. Consult your doctor for more information.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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