Name: Dapsone
Synonyms: Avlosulfon, Diaminodiphenylsulfone, DDS
Chemical Name: 4-[(4-aminobenzene)sulfonyl]aniline
Therapy Type: Small Molecule (timeline)
Target Type: Other (timeline)
Condition(s): Alzheimer's Disease
U.S. FDA Status: Alzheimer's Disease (Inactive)
Company: Immune Network Ltd.
Approved for: Leprosy, malaria, some bacterial skin infections


Dapsone is a small molecule with anti-inflammatory immunosuppressive properties as well as antibacterial and antibiotic properties. It is used clinically to treat leprosy and malaria, and is being investigated for the treatment of a variety of skin infections.  Dapsone acts against bacteria and protozoa  by inhibiting the synthesis of dihydrofolic acid through competition with para-amino-benzoate for the active site of dihydropteroate synthetase. According to, the anti-inflammatory action of the drug is unrelated to its antibacterial action and is not fully understood.


Many studies have linked Alzheimer's disease with inflammation (Halliday et al., 2000) and epidemiological evidence suggests a reduced risk of AD in patients who take anti-inflammatory medications (McGeer et al., 1996), including those with leprosy (McGeer et al., 1992). However, other studies have not observed reduced prevalence of AD in leprosy patients chronically taking anti-inflammatory medication (Goto et al., 1995). 


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Paper Citations

  1. . Alzheimer's disease and inflammation: a review of cellular and therapeutic mechanisms. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2000 Jan-Feb;27(1-2):1-8. PubMed.
  2. . Arthritis and anti-inflammatory agents as possible protective factors for Alzheimer's disease: a review of 17 epidemiologic studies. Neurology. 1996 Aug;47(2):425-32. PubMed.
  3. . Neuropathological analysis of dementia in a Japanese leprosarium. Dementia. 1995 May-Jun;6(3):157-61. PubMed.

External Citations


Further Reading

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