Dapsone 5% Gel: A New Option in Topical Therapy for Acne

Jerry Tan, MD, FRCPC


Skin Therapy Letter. 2012;17(8):1-3. 

In This Article

Mechanism of Action

Dapsone has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.[1] A combination of these activities may account for its efficacy in acne. Anti-inflammatory effects include inhibition of neutrophil myeloperoxidase and eosinophil peroxidase activity, suppression of hypochlorous acid production, scavenging of reactive oxygen species, suppression of neutrophil activity, and inhibition of chemoattractant-induced signal transduction. Antimicrobial activity, similar to that of sulfones and sulfonamides, is by inhibition of bacterial dihydropterase synthase in the folic acid metabolic pathway. This mechanism is effective against microorganisms synthesizing their own folic acid. In vitro susceptibility testing has demonstrated some activity for dapsone against Propionibacterium species, including Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). In vivo, a 10 week randomized single-blind vehicle-controlled microbiological study demonstrated reduction in Propionibacterium counts for vehicle between 54–78%, and for topical 5% dapsone gel of 63–70% (not significant).[1]