Duration of multidrug therapy in paucibacillary leprosy patients; experience in the leprosy control program of the All Africa Leprosy and Rehabilitation Training Center (ALERT) in Ethiopia.Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1992 Sep; 60(3):436-44.IJ
Multidrug therapy (MDT), according to the recommendations of a WHO Study Group of 1982, was introduced in the leprosy control program of the All Africa Leprosy and Rehabilitation Training Center (ALERT), Ethiopia, in January 1983. Of 6042 paucibacillary patients who were put on MDT during a period of 7 years, 5485 patients (90.8%) completed the course of MDT; 437 patients (7.2%) did not fulfill the requirement for clinic attendance and either discontinued MDT themselves or the treatment was discontinued by the service. The remaining 120 patients (2.0%) either died, were transferred, left the control area or continued MDT after 9 months. The urine spot test for the presence of dapsone showed a significantly higher proportion of positive results for patients on MDT than for patients on dapsone. The analysis of the compliance with the prescribed doses of MDT showed that of 963 patients, 81.9% received six doses of MDT and 18.1%, more than six doses; 82.6% of these 963 patients attended with 100% regularity, 12.7%, 3.6%, and 1.1% missed one, two, or three clinic appointments, respectively, while fulfilling the requirement for overall clinic attendance. Of the 429 patients who had not been treated with dapsone before MDT, the skin lesions were clinically active at the time of stopping MDT in 130 patients (30.3%). In all, except one of the 114 patients (0.9%) who attended for follow-up examinations, the skin lesions had become clinically inactive within 2 years after stopping MDT. The recommended duration of MDT is discussed based on findings in the ALERT leprosy control programs and observations by others.