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Chemotherapy of lepromatous leprosy: recent developments and prospects for the future.


Leprosy is a major debilitating infectious disease, primarily of the developing world. In this paper the current status and future prospects of antimicrobial therapy of the severe anergic lepromatous form of the disease are reviewed. Until the last few years only dapsone, rifampicin, clofazimine and ethionamide have had practical application in its therapy, and only rifampicin was bactericidal. Recently, antibiotics from three different classes have been found to be bactericidal in lepromatous patients: a tetracycline (minocycline), a macrolide (clarithromycin), and several fluoroquinolones (including pefloxacin, ofloxacin and sparfloxacin). Against a background of drug resistance and bacterial persistence, recommendations for multidrug therapy and the means to devise rationally based therapy for the future are discussed.

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Journal Article
Gelber R H