People with leprosy generally receive antibiotics along with supportive care, which is designed to help relieve symptoms and associated complications, and includes care from orthopedic surgeons, eye doctors, and physical therapists. This treatment can often be provided at no cost to patients by their family doctor or through the Hansen's Disease Clinic closest to them. Improvements are often seen after two to three months of starting treatment for leprosy.
Historically, there was no cure for leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), and lepers were segregated for extended periods. However, today, leprosy can be cured with antibiotics. Many leprosy symptoms and associated complications can be minimized or avoided all together with early diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment for leprosy differs, depending upon the form of the disease. Treatment will generally continue for one year for tuberculoid leprosy and for two years for lepromatous leprosy. This involves medicines along with supportive care. Supportive care involves treating symptoms of leprosy and any complications.
Medicines Used to Treat Leprosy
Leprosy treatment typically uses antibiotics to kill Mycobacterium leprae (the bacteria that cause the disease). However, Mycobacterium leprae can be resistant to certain antibiotics. Therefore, several medication are often combined when treating the disease. The three most commonly used antibiotics are:
Other antibiotics, such as clarithromycin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, and minocycline, also have excellent antibacterial activity against Mycobacterium leprae.
Medicine that is used to treat leprosy can be provided at no cost to patients by their family doctor or through the Hansen's Disease Clinic closest to them. A person should see improvements after two to three months after beginning treatment.