Dapsone is often given to people who are allergic to sulphur-containing drugs such as fansidar. The drug can be used to treat various conditions as explained below.
Pregnant women take fansidar as a preventative measure (prophylaxis) against malaria, which is usually recommended in the second and third trimesters. They may take between two to three doses of the medicine, which can also be given in combination with pyrimethamine.
Dapsone also acts as an antibiotic, which is why it is recommended for people who suffer from conditions such as leprosy. It works by preventing the bacteria from producing folate, which is essential for the production of DNA. Without DNA production, the bacteria are unable to increase in number. The drug is also used in treating skin diseases, especially those commonly known as dermatitis herpetiformis (extremely itchy groups of skin lesions, which occur on the elbows, knees, and scalp) and opportunistic infections that are associated with HIVAids.
Dosage is based on a person’s medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on age and weight. When used as a prevention drug, dapsone is given in 100 milligrammes, which must be taken once every day.
In the treatment of diseases, however, a 100 milligramme daily dose can be administered in combination with a drug called trimethoprim. It is commonly used to treat mild to moderate diseases. When used to treat leprosy, dapsone drugs come as 50 milligramme tablets.
Breastfeeding mothers are cautioned against using this medicine, especially if they are anaemic. Therefore, before taking such drugs, breastfeeding mothers should ensure they do not have symptoms such as fever, sore throat, body rash and mouth ulcers, which are commonly associated with anaemia.
Some of the side effects associated with taking the drug include nausea, anorexia, headache, and vomiting. If a person takes the medication in overdose, they can be given activated charcoal to manage the condition. Dapsone is available only with a doctor’s prescription.
The writer is a pharmacist
SOURCE: Daily Monitor