The efficacy and safety of topical dapsone gel, 5% for the treatment of acne vulgaris in adult females with skin of color

Andrew F. Alexis, Cheryl Burgess, Valerie D. Callender, Jo L. Herzog, Wendy E. Roberts, Eric S. Schweiger, Toni C. Stockton, Conor J. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Topical dapsone gel, 5% is approved for treatment of acne vulgaris but has not been studied specifically in women with skin of color (SOC; Fitzpatrick skin types IV, V, or VI). OBJECTIVE: Evaluate safety and efficacy of dapsone gel, 5% applied topically twice daily for 12 weeks in women with SOC. METHODS: Females with SOC aged 18 years and older with facial acne participated in a multicenter, open-label, single-group, 12-week pilot study of twice-daily monotherapy with dapsone gel, 5%. The investigator-rated 5-point Global Acne Assessment Score (GAAS) was used to assess efficacy. The impact of acne on subjects was assessed using the validated Acne Symptom and Impact Scale (ASIS). RESULTS: The study enrolled and treated 68 women with SOC and facial acne. GAAS decreased significantly from baseline to week 12 (mean, -1.2 [95% CI, -1.4, -1.0]; P<.001), a 39.0% improvement. Overall, 42.9% of subjects were responders based on a GAAS of 0 or 1 at week 12. Subjects also experienced significant reductions in mean total lesions (52% decrease), inflammatory lesions (65%), and comedo counts (41%; all P<.001). Dapsone gel, 5% monotherapy was associated with significant improvement in subject-assessed acne signs (P<.001) and impact on quality of life (QOL; P<.001), based on ASIS. Dapsone gel, 5% used twice daily was well tolerated, with no treatment-related adverse events. The local dermal tolerability scores tended to remain stable or decrease from baseline to week 12. CONCLUSIONS: Monotherapy with dapsone gel, 5% administered twice daily was safe and effective for treatment of facial acne in women with SOC. Significant improvement in overall acne severity and both inflammatory lesions and comedones was observed. Further, study subjects reported considerable improvement in both acne signs and impact on QOL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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