Diseases Home > Treatments for Leprosy

Antibiotics (such as rifampin) and supportive care are the most common options used to treat leprosy. After successful treatments, people are typically considered free of active infection, although some may still have residual disabilities. Several symptoms, such as skin lesions, can improve with treatment; however, other symptoms or complications, such as nerve damage, may improve very little.

Leprosy Treatments: An Introduction

Historically, there was no cure for leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), and lepers were segregated for extended periods. Today, however, the disease can often be cured with antibiotics. With early diagnosis and treatments, leprosy symptoms and complications often can be minimized or avoided altogether.
Treatment options differ, depending upon the form of the disease. They will generally continue for one year for tuberculoid leprosy and for two years for lepromatous leprosy. Treatments for leprosy often involve medicines along with supportive care. Supportive care involves treating symptoms of leprosy and any associated complications.

Using Supportive Care to Treat Leprosy

Supportive care does not affect the progression of the disease, but it can help reduce symptoms and minimize complications. It is important to note that many of the deformities and disabilities associated with leprosy are preventable. Supportive care includes consultation and treatment from:
  • Orthopedic surgeons (bone doctors)
  • Eye doctors
  • Physical therapists.
Examples of treatments for leprosy complications include:
  • Specialized footwear
  • Casts
  • Reconstructive surgery.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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