Clofazimine is an antibiotic that is used to treat Leprosy, an infectious bacterial disease which affects the skin, nerves, eyes and the lining of the nose and throat.
Uses of Clofazimine
- It is used in the treatment of Leprosy, and to treat flare-ups of leprosy along with the combination of other medicines.
Contraindications of Clofazimine
When should one not use Clofazimine
- If you have allergy to Clofazimine or any components of the medicine
- If you are suffering from liver, stomach, and intestinal problems
Side effects of Clofazimine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Reversible skin discoloration
- Discoloration of hair, eyes, tears, sweat, sputum, feces and urine
- Stomach pain (feeling sick), nausea, loose motions, loss of appetite
- Dry, rough and scaly skin, rashes and itching
Precautions and Warnings of Clofazimine
Can I take Clofazimine during pregnancy?
Enough data is not available. Clofazimine has the potential to cause skin discoloration of the unborn baby and should be given in pregnancy only if other alternatives are not available.
Can I take Clofazimine while breastfeeding?
Clofazimine should not be given to breastfeeding mothers as this medicine secretes in breast milk can cause skin discoloration of the baby.
Can I drive if I have consumed Clofazimine?
Clofazimine does not affect your ability to drive. But, caution is advised in the presence of side effects such as dizziness, tiredness, or decreased alertness.
Can I consume alcohol with Clofazimine?
Interactions of Clofazimine with alcohol are not known, but Leprosy is a disease that is difficult to cure and relapses often. Alcohol delays healing and suppresses immunity, and it is advised to avoid alcohol during the treatment.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Clofazimine may make your skin more sensitive so avoid going out in direct sunlight in the afternoons, or wear protective clothing or apply sunscreen lotions
- High doses should not be given for an extended period (more than 3 months) as it can result in intestinal problems, which can be serious
Mode of Action of Clofazimine
How Does It Work?
Clofazimine works by attacking the DNA (genetic material) of the disease causing bacteria and affects the multiplication of the bacteria, thus controlling Leprosy.
Interactions of Clofazimine
Interactions with other medicines
- Some medicines which may interact with Clofazimine and need to be used with caution
- Bedaquiline (treats TB)
- Antacids – that reduce stomach acidity (aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide)
- Phenytoin (for seizures)
- Also, inform your doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter medicines or herbal medicines as they may have interactions
Interactions with food items
Clofazimine has to be taken with food or milk.
Dietary Restrictions of Clofazimine
Do not eat oranges or drink orange juice.
Dosage of Clofazimine
Unintentional overdose is unlikely to be harmful. But if you develop any symptoms like skin rashes, itching, stomach problems, inform your doctor.
Missed a Dose
Clofazimine is usually given once a day in combination with other medicines. Hence it is advised to take this medicine strictly without missing any dosages. If you miss taking other medicines also, you may take them together when you remember. Do not have two doses close to each other or take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What causes Leprosy?
- Leprosy iLeprosytagious (that can spread from person to person) is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Leprae. It is a slowly developing disease, and it takes 2-6 years
- The disease causes patches on the skin, reduced sensation, tingling and numbness, vision problems (due to nerve damage) and also damages the lining of the upper respiratory tract (nose and the throat)
- The disease is transmitted from person to person, mostly by contact or air
- Any skin lesions (infections) with loss of sensation and mostly associated with thickened nerve is Leprosy
- There are broadly two types of Leprosy – Lepromatous Leprosy (or Multibacillary Leprosy) where the bacterial load is high and Tuberculoid (or Leprobacillary) Leprosy where the bacterial load is low
- Leprosy is not a very common disease nowadays, with less than 10,000 cases worldwide
Q: Does Clofazimine cure Leprosy?
- Leprosy is a curable disease, but it requires treatment with multiple medicines. Any single medicine cannot cure Leprosy, and a combination of medicines has to be given
- The preferred combination is Rifampicin, Clofazimine, and Dapsone
- Clofazimine is given in conjunction with other medicines for the treatment of Lepromatous Leprosy (or Multibacillary Leprosy), in mild or severe forms
- In many cases, Leprosy can be cured, and the duration of treatment can vary between 6-12 months
- Clofazimine, Drugs.com [accessed on 12 Sep, 2019 (online)].
- Clofazimine, WHO [accessed on 12 Sep, 2019 (online)].
- Webmd clofazimine.[accessed on 24Aug2019] (Online)
- Mayoclinic clofazimine.[accessed on 24Aug2019](Online)
- Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Clofazimine. [Updated 2018 Oct 31]
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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