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

Updated: Jun 05, 2020
  • 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 recommends the use of the long-term multidrug regimens for both paucibacillary and multibacillary leprosy. See Table 1.

Table 1. 2018 WHO Leprosy Treatment Guidelines. [18] (Open Table in a new window)

Age Group

Drug

Dosage and Frequency

Duration

Multibacillary Leprosy

Paucibacillary Leprosy

Adult

Rifampicin

600 mg once a month

12 months

6 months

Clofazimine

300 mg once a month and 50 mg daily

Dapsone

100 mg daily

Children (10-14 years)

Rifampicin

450 mg once a month

12 months

6 months

Clofazimine

150 mg once a month, 50 mg on alternate days

Dapsone

50 mg daily

Children < 10 years or < 40 kg

Rifampicin

10 mg/kg once a month

12 months

6 months

Clofazimine

100 mg once a month, 50 mg twice weekly

Dapsone

2 mg/kg daily


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