Diagnosis and treatment
It is important that a leprosy patient is diagnosed as soon as possible after signs of leprosy have appeared. This will reduce the chance that the patient infects others with the bacilli and it will also decrease the chance that the patient develops damage of nerves affected by the bacilli, such as loss of feeling and muscle strength in hands, feet and eyes and possible complications of loss of feeling and muscle strength.
The cardinal signs of leprosy are:
- Skin patch with loss of sensation
- Enlarged peripheral nerves
- Positive skin smears for Mycobacterium leprae
Since 1995, WHO has supplied MDT free of cost to leprosy patients in all endemic countries.
The drugs used in WHO-MDT are a combination of rifampicin, clofazimine and dapsone for MB leprosy patients and rifampicin and dapsone for PB leprosy patients. Among these rifampicin is the most important antileprosy drug and therefore is included in the treatment of both types of leprosy. Treatment of leprosy with only one antileprosy drug will always result in development of drug resistance to that drug. Treatment with dapsone or any other antileprosy drug used as monotherapy should be considered as unethical practice.
- WHO donated MDT
- WHO recommended MDT regimens
- MDT: management of "burnt-out" cases FAQ
- Effectiveness of MDT: FAQ
- MDT: duration of treatment FAQ
- MDT: managing irregular treatment FAQ
- MDT: relapse after treatment FAQ
- MDT and drug resistance
- MDT: side effects FAQ
- MDT and skin smears FAQ
- Use of MDT by TB cases FAQ
- Use of clofazimine for treating ENL reactions in leprosy