Innovative use of dapsone

Dermatol Clin. 2010 Jul;28(3):599-610. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2010.03.014.


After synthesis of dapsone (4,4' diaminodiphenylsulfone) in 1908, the compound was known exclusively in chemistry. Following the epoch-making discovery of the antimicrobial potential for sulfonamides emerged, the sulfone class was included in the medical armamentarium. The therapeutic role of sulfones related to both pathogen-caused diseases and chronic inflammatory dermatoses has led to extensive use in dermatology. At present dapsone is the only sulfone congener available for clinical practice. The sulfone is used in rifampin-based multiple-drug regiments to treat multibacillary and paucibacillary leprosy and to treat Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and prevent toxoplasmosis in individuals with AIDS. In dermatology, dapsone is the preferred drug for treating dermatitis herpetiformis (Duhring's disease) and is useful in the management of a broad range of chronic inflammatory entities, especially autoimmune bullous disorders. With proper administration and monitoring, the sulfone should be considered a useful and safe agent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Dapsone / adverse effects
  • Dapsone / chemistry
  • Dapsone / pharmacology
  • Dapsone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Jaundice / chemically induced
  • Leprosy / drug therapy
  • Orphan Drug Production
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Pneumocystis carinii / drug effects
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Therapies, Investigational*
  • Toxoplasmosis / drug therapy


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Dapsone