Diseases Home > Treatment of Leprosy

There are a number of leprosy treatment options, depending upon the form of the disease. However, in all cases, antibiotics (such as dapsone or clofazimine) are typically used, as is supportive care, which helps to relieve symptoms and complications. Because Mycobacterium leprae (the bacteria that causes leprosy) can be resistant to certain antibiotics, several antibiotics are typically combined for treatment.

Treating Leprosy: An Introduction

Historically, there was no cure for leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), and lepers were segregated for extended periods of time. Today, however, the disease can generally be cured with antibiotics. With early diagnosis and treatment, many leprosy symptoms and complications can be minimized or avoided all together.
 
It is important to note that leprosy treatment differs depending upon the form of the disease. It will generally continue for one year for tuberculoid leprosy and for two years for lepromatous leprosy. Treatment typically involves medicines along with supportive care. Supportive care is aimed at treating symptoms and associated complications.
 

Medicines for Leprosy Treatment

Treatment of leprosy uses antibiotics to kill Mycobacterium leprae (the bacteria that cause leprosy). However, the bacteria can be resistant to certain antibiotics. Therefore, several antibiotics are often combined. The three most commonly used antibiotics are:
 
 
Other antibiotics, such as clarithromycin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, and minocycline, also have excellent antibacterial activity against Mycobacterium leprae.
 
Many times, medicine for treatment of 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 of beginning treatment.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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