Dapsone Risk, Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolyitic Anemia just one of the risks of taking Dapsone, a commonly used medication treatment for Sweet’s Syndrome, Urticarial Vasculitis, Chronic Urticaria and other skin diseases.

While this drug has done wonders for me and others who have taken it, the risks may develop into new symptoms. Then you must ask  yourself:

“Are the benefits of Dapsone still out-weighing the risks?”

It took 4 weeks for Dapsone’s effect to noticeable. When I first started taking it, my body seemed to rebel against it. I started getting hundreds of hives daily, which was more than I was getting before it had started. 2 weeks after starting it, my hives and other symptoms went back to the levels they were the day I started it.

After taking it for 4 weeks, I really noticed a difference! I could wear my tennis shoes! YEA! I could wear something other than Crocs! I was even able to wear some of my neglected cute flats for short periods of time as long as I wasn’t required to stand or walk too much. What a relief! I had half of June and the first half of July to enjoy my newfound footwear (well, not new, but new-ish to my feet).

I had a bit less pain too. My Superman and I were able to go explore some small towns nearby on his off-weeks from chemo. Ah! We had a great time (until our beloved Zacky died). Things slowly started going downhill after that. Stress surely had a part in that.

I saw my rheumy at Johns Hopkins. All went well except he wanted more blood work. Okay. He also suggested I see my hematologist about my low H&H (Hematocrit and Hemoglobin), which I did and did even more labs.

My hematologist called to tell me I have hemolytic anemia.

She explained that in my case it can be autoimmune or drug-induced. Given that this is a known side-effect of Dapsone, she’s pretty certain it’s drug-induced. However, she didn’t want to totally rule out the possibility of it being autoimmune since I already have autoimmune issues. I too am pretty certain it’s Dapsone-related.

Anemia symptoms are (from The Mayo Clinic):

  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive problems
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headache

The symptoms of hemolytic anemia are pretty much the same. However, Johns Hopkins’s site have a few more symptoms listed.

  • Abnormal paleness or lack of color of the skin
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mouth
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Intolerance to physical activity
  • Enlargement of the spleen and liver
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Heart murmur

“The symptoms of hemolytic anemia may resemble other blood conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.”

Hemolytic anemia

(from hopkinsmedicine.org)

What is hemolytic anemia?

What are the symptoms of hemolytic anemia?

How is hemolytic anemia diagnosed?

Treatment for hemolytic anemia