The therapeutic and prophylactic role of oral zinc sulfate in management of recurrent aphthous stomatitis (ras) in comparison with dapsone

Saudi Med J. 2008 May;29(5):734-8.


Objective: To evaluate the therapeutic and prophylactic effectiveness of oral zinc sulfate in recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) in comparison with dapsone.

Methods: A double-blind placebo controlled study, conducted in the Department of Dermatology, Baghdad Teaching Hospitals, Baghdad, Iraq between May 2005 and October 2006, in which 45 patients with RAS were recruited and divided into 3 equal groups: group A (on zinc sulfate 150 mg twice daily), group B (on dapsone 50 mg twice daily), and group C (on glucose 250 mg as placebo). The drugs were prepared in identical capsules, and the patients were instructed to take the capsules twice daily after meals (in a double-blind manner). Assessment of each patient was carried out by the Oral Clinical Manifestation Index (OCMI) and the diameter of the ulcers at day 0, day 4, and at the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth weeks of therapy.

Results: Forty-five patients were included in the study (25 males and 20 females), and their ages ranged between 16-45 years (mean+/-SD 31.24+/-8.14). In group A, the mean of OCMI and diameter of ulcers improved, with a p=0.0001 for OCMI, and 0.0001 for the diameter for ulcers at the end of the twelfth week of therapy, which was statistically significant. Group B, also showed significant improvement, however, the action was lower and slower (p=0.0001 for OCMI, and 0.001 for the diameter for ulcers). Group C revealed slight non-significant improvement (p=0.028 for OCMI, and 0.034 for the diameter of ulcers). In the sixth week of therapy, zinc sulfate was more effective than dapsone in reducing the OCMI of the ulcers (p=0.007).

Conclusion: The present study showed that both zinc sulfate and dapsone had significant therapeutic and prophylactic effects in controlling RAS, however, zinc sulfate had much more rapid and sustained action.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Astringents / administration & dosage
  • Astringents / therapeutic use*
  • Capsules
  • Dapsone / administration & dosage
  • Dapsone / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zinc Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Zinc Sulfate / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Astringents
  • Capsules
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Dapsone