Vol. 69(2 Suppl 1) N° 2 - Jun - 2001



4- Newer drugs in leprosy

Jacques H. Grosset

During the last 15 years, new drugs active against Mycobacterium leprae have been identified. All of them belong to the fluoroquinolone, cycline and macrolide drug families. In the mouse model and in humans, minocycline, ofloxacin, and clarithromycin have demonstrated, individually or in combination, antileprosy activities much superior to those of the standard drugs dapsone and clofazimine. In humans, a single dose of the combination ofloxacin 400 mg + minocycline 100 mg was able to kill 68% to 98% of viable M. leprae and a single dose of ROM. a three-drug combination of rifampin 600 mg + ofloxacin 400 mg + minocycline 100 mg, was killing more than 99% of viable M. leprae. As a result of a double-blind, control, clinical trial, the Seventh Report of the WHO Expert Committee on Leprosy recommended in 1997 the use of single-dose ROM for the treatment of patients with single-lesion paucibacillary leprosy. Recently moxifloxacin, a new fluoroquinolone, and rifapentine, a long-lasting rifamycin derivative, have demonstrated in the mouse model highly promising antileprosy activities, justifying their assessment in humans.

5- Pathology and pathogenesis of leprous neuritis; a preventable and treatable complication

C. K. Job

In conclusion, it may be said that many advances have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of nerve damage. It is now a well accepted fact that the affinity of M. leprae for Schwann cells and the property of M. leprae to grow in cooler sites of the body have made certain segments of nerve trunks vulnerable. Trauma that supervenes the inflammation and swelling severely aggravates the nerve damage. The reactive phase in all forms of leprosy, the etiology of which is not clearly understood, produces intraneural caseous necrosis in tuberculoid disease and microabscesses in lepromatous disease, causing much irreversible damage to nerves. The steroid treatment that is administered during the reactive phase has helped greatly to stop further damage, although the damage already done to nerves is not always reversible. Preventive measures like detecting the disease before nerve trunks are infected and offering prompt and adequate anti-leprosy therapy as early as possible have helped to reduce the prevalence of deformities. It is hoped that administering steroids along with antileprosy therapy to prevent active inflammation and or fibrosis of the nerve will reduce the prevalence of nerve damage significantly. Measures which provide rest for the infected nerve to prevent trauma should be explored.

6- Ocular leprosy

Margreet Hogeweg


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