What is the WHO recommended multidrug regimen for treatment of leprosy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

In response to the increased incidence of dapsone resistance, the WHO introduced a multidrug regimen in 1981 that includes rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimine. Some clinical studies have also shown that certain quinolones, minocycline, and azithromycin have activity against M leprae. The WHO recently recommended single-dose treatment with rifampin, minocycline, or ofloxacin in patients with paucibacillary leprosy who have a single skin lesion. However, the WHO still recommends the use of the long-term multidrug regimens whenever possible because they have been found to be more efficacious.

Table 1. Multidrug Therapy Plan Recommended by the WHO (Open Table in a new window)

Type of Leprosy

Daily, Self-Administered

Monthly Supervised

Months of Treatment

Paucibacillary

Dapsone 100 mg

Rifampicin 600 mg

6

Single-lesion paucibacillary

Rifampicin 600 mg,

Ofloxacin 400 mg,

Minocycline 100 mg

N/A Single dose

Multibacillary

Dapsone 100 mg,

Clofazimine 50 mg

Rifampicin 600 mg,

Clofazimine 300 mg 

12

Pediatric

Dapsone 2 mg/kg,

Clofazimine 1 mg/kg

Rifampicin 10 mg/kg,

Clofazimine 6 mg/kg

Same as in adults

Also see the chart below:

WHO Multidrug Therapy Regimens. Courtesy of WHO, L WHO Multidrug Therapy Regimens. Courtesy of WHO, Leprosy Elimination, http://www.who.int/lep/mdt/en/, accessed April 15, 2016.

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