Daily multidrug therapy for leprosy; results of a fourteen-year experience.Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1997 Mar; 65(1):37-44.IJ
Between 1980 and 1994, 67 new or relapsing leprosy patients were treated by daily administered multidrug regimens. Tuberculoid patients (23 TT/BT) received either bitherapy [rifampin + dapsone or clofazimine (RMP + DDS or CLO)] or tritherapy [RMP + DDS and/or CLO and/or ethionamide (ETH)] until clinical cure. Lepromatous patients (44 BB/BL/LL) received tritherapy (RMP + DDS and/or CLO and/or ETH) at least until bacteriological negativity. Of the 23 tuberculoid patients only one patient (5%) was cured at 6 months and about 70% needed between 6 and 24 months of treatment to obtain clinical cure (mean 19.5 months). In the 44 lepromatous patients, the achievement of bacteriological negativity was significantly linked to the initial bacterial index (BI), and it occurred after 2 to 7 years (mean 66.5 months) of multidrug therapy (MDT). The average BI decrease per year was 1.1+ during the first year, 0.9+ the second year, and then < 0.5+ per year. Reactional states significantly (p < 0.01) influenced the BI course: reversal reactions (RR) accelerated while erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) delayed the BI decrease. Three of the 23 (13%) tuberculoid and 19 of the 44 (43%) lepromatous patients (p < 0.02) exhibited a RR and 18 of 44 (41%) lepromatous patients had ENL during MDT. A late RR (LRR) was observed in 1 (5%) and 6 (17%) of our tuberculoid and lepromatous patients, respectively, and 3 (8%) of our lepromatous patients suffered post-MDT ENL. No confirmed relapse has been observed within a follow-up period of 6 months to 7 years and 3 months [59 person-years at risk (PYR)] for TT/BT patients and of 4 months to 5 years and 10 months (100 PYR) for BB/BL/LL patients. When compared to the recommended WHO/MDT, it appears that daily MDT does not increase the clinical or the bacteriological cure rates either at 6 months in paucibacillary tuberculoid patients or at 2d years in multibacillary lepromatous patients. Moreover, as does the WHO/MDT, our regimens show a high frequency of reactional states both during and after treatment. This fact constitutes the main new problem of the actual treatment of leprosy.