Dapsone Topical

Dapsone Topical
Dapsone Topical

Uses of Dapsone Topical

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 decreasing inflammation.

Side Effects of Dapsone Topical

Dapsone topical may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

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 the mouth
  • back pain
  • shortness of breath
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dark brown urine
  • fever
  • yellow or pale skin
  • rash
  • 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.

Warnings & Precautions

Before using dapsone topical:

  • 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 with dapsone topical. 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 while using dapsone topical.
  • 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 topical.
  • 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.


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 topical 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 dapsone topical gel.


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 of dapsone topical.

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.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.