Why is this medication prescribed?
Dapsone topical is used to treat acne in children, teenagers, and adults. Dapsone is in a class of medications called sulfone antibiotics. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria and to decrease inflammation.
How should this medicine be used?
Dapsone comes as a gel to apply to the skin. It is usually applied once (7.5% gel) or twice (5% gel) daily. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Apply dapsone exactly as directed. Do not apply more or less of it or apply it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Applying more dapsone or applying dapsone more often than recommended will not speed up or improve results, but it may irritate your skin.
It may take up to 12 weeks before you feel the full benefit of dapsone gel. If your acne does not improve after 12 weeks of treatment, call your doctor.
Be careful not to get dapsone gel in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
To use the dapsone gel, follow these steps: Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
- Gently wash the affected skin and pat dry with a soft towel. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a gentle cleanser.
- If you are using the 5% gel product, use your fingers to spread a pea-sized amount as a thin layer of gel over the affected area. If you are using the 7.5% gel product, use your fingers to spread a pea-sized amount as a thin layer of gel over the face and any other affected areas.
- Rub the gel in gently and completely. It may feel gritty and you may see particles in the gel.
- Put the cap back on the gel tube and close it tightly.
- Wash your hands immediately after applying the gel.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using dapsone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dapsone, sulfonamide-derived medications ('sulfa drugs'), or any of the ingredients in dapsone gel. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetaminophen; anticonvulsant medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); antimalarial medications such as chloroquine (Aralen), primaquine, and quinine (Qualaquin); dapsone (by mouth); nitrofurantoin (Furadantin); nitroglycerin (Minitran, Nitro-Dur, Nitromist, others); phenobarbital; pyrimethamine (Daraprim); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane; in Rifamate, in Rifater); or sulfonamide-containing medications including co-trimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John's wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hemolytic anemia (a condition with an abnormally low number of red blood cells), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6PD) deficiency (an inherited blood disorder), or methemoglobinemia (a condition with defective red blood cells that are unable to carry oxygen to the tissues in the body).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using dapsone, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using dapsone.
- tell your doctor if you use topical products containing benzoyl peroxide (in Duac, in Onexton; found in many topical acne products). Using benzoyl peroxide products with dapsone gel may cause your skin or facial hair to turn yellow or orange temporarily.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra gel to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Dapsone topical may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- skin redness or burning
- skin drying
- skin oiliness and peeling
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using dapsone and call your doctor immediately:
- numbness, burning or tingling in the hands or feet
- muscle weakness
- grey-bluish color of lips, nails, or inside of mouth
- back pain
- shortness of breath
- dark brown urine
- yellow or pale skin
- swelling of the face, lips, or eyes
Dapsone topical may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze this medication.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
If you or someone else swallows dapsone, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.