Additional Information on Treating Leprosy
Supportive care does not affect the progression of leprosy, but it does help reduce symptoms and minimize complications. It is important to note that many of the deformities and disabilities associated with this disease are preventable. Supportive care that is used as leprosy treatment includes consultation and treatment from:
- Orthopedic surgeons (bone doctors)
- Eye doctors
- Physical therapists.
Examples of treatment for leprosy complications include:
- Specialized footwear
- Reconstructive surgery.
Reactions to Leprosy Treatment
Some people experience certain reactions after treatment for leprosy begins. These problems:
- Can also occur in untreated leprosy patients, although it is less common
- Is a response of the immune system to dead or dying bacteria
- Can cause the leprosy rash to become worse
- Can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and joint pain
- Can cause painful inflammation of nerves (neuritis), which can affect sensation and/or strength.
Reactions can be mild or severe. If mild, no treatment, or only over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication, may be sufficient. More severe reactions can be harmful to nerves and should be promptly treated by a physician. Treatment for leprosy reactions can involve a corticosteroid medicine, such as:
After successful treatment, people with leprosy are considered free of active infection. A number of symptoms can improve with treatment, such as skin lesions. Other symptoms or complications, such as nerve damage, may improve very little with treatment. Worldwide, there are an estimated 2 to 3 million cases of people who have completed leprosy treatment but still have residual disabilities.