Newer drugs in leprosy.
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.