Current approaches and future directions in the treatment of leprosy
Sophie M Worobec
Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Abstract: This review surveys current treatments and future treatment trends in leprosy from a clinical perspective. The World Health Organization provides a multidrug treatment regimen that targets the Mycobacterium leprae bacillus which causes leprosy. Several investigational drugs are available for the treatment of drug-resistant M. leprae. Future directions in leprosy treatment will focus on: the molecular signaling mechanism M. leprae uses to avoid triggering an immune response; prospective studies of the side effects experienced during multiple-drug therapy; recognition of relapse rates post-completion of designated treatments; combating multidrug resistance; vaccine development; development of new diagnostic tests; and the implications of the recent discovery of a genetically distinct leprosy-causing bacillus, Mycobacterium lepromatosis.
Keywords: epidemiology, leprosy, Hansen’s disease, multidrug resistance, multidrug therapy
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