Perception of cure among leprosy patients post completion of multi-drug therapy.
BACKGROUND: Leprosy is a treatable disease; however, the release from treatment after completion of multidrug therapy (MDT) often does not equal absence of health problems. Consequently, sequelae interfere with the patient's perception of cure. The objective of this study was to analyze the factors associated with the perception of not being healed among people treated for leprosy in a highly endemic area in Brazil.
METHOD: A cross-sectional study of perceived cure of leprosy in the post-release from treatment period was conducted in Cáceres in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The study included a total of 390 leprosy patients treated with MDT and released after completion of treatment from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2017. The dependent variable was self-reported cure of leprosy; the independent variables included clinical, operational and socioeconomic variables.
RESULTS: Out of the 390 former leprosy patients, 304 (77.9%) perceived themselves as cured and 86 (22.1%) considered themselves unhealed. Among the latter, 49 (57.0%) reported muscle weakness and joint pains. Individuals with complaints related to leprosy post-release from treatment had a 4.6 times higher chance to self-report as unhealed (OR 4.6; 95% CI 2.5-8.5). Patients with physical disabilities (PD) grade 1 and 2 at the time of the study had a 3.1 (OR 3.1; 95% CI 1.3-7.4) and 8.8 (OR 7.7; 95% CI 3.5-21.9) times higher likelihood to self-identify as unhealed, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Among successfully treated leprosy patients, a quarter self-report as unhealed of the disease. The factors associated with the perception of being unhealed are PD and complaints related to leprosy in the post-release from treatment phase.