A randomized controlled trial to compare cure and relapse rate of paucibacillary multidrug therapy with monthly rifampicin, ofloxacin, and minocycline among paucibacillary leprosy patients in Agra District, India.
OBJECTIVES: To study cure rate and relapse rate of standard World Health Organization paucibacillary multidrug therapy (PB-MDT) with monthly rifampicin, ofloxacin, and minocycline for six months (ROM-6) among paucibacillary leprosy patients.
METHODS: A total of 268 patients, detected during active search in Agra district during 2001-2004, who had paucibacillary (PB) leprosy having 1-5 skin lesions and/or one nerve thickening/tenderness, were allocated, using random number tables, to two treatment groups; PB-MDT and ROM-6. On the first day of the month, dose of PB-MDT and of the ROM were given under supervision for 6 months. After completion of drug therapy, patients were followed every 6 months for first 5 years and later annually for next 3 years for monitoring disease status, cure rates, reactions and relapses. Cηi σθuαρε test was used to compare relapse rates.
RESULTS: The cure rate at 2 years was 99% in ROM-6 and 97.0% in PB-MDT group, of those who completed treatment and the difference was statistically not significant. At 5 years, only 88 patients in PB-MDT group and 90 patients in ROM-6 group could be followed; all were observed to be cured. However, during the period of 5-8 years, 3 of 67 patients in PB-MDT group and 1 of 73 in ROM-6 group were observed to have relapsed. In all, 10 relapses were noted (3 in ROM-6 and 7 in PB-MDT group) giving a relapse rate of 1.10/100 person years in PB-MDT and 0.435/100 person years in ROM groups (P = 0.053 ; statistically not significant). Of the 10 relapses, 5 occurred within 5 years (3 in PB-MDT group and 2 in ROM-6), 4 during 5-8 years (3 in PB-MDT and 1 in ROM-6), and 1 occurred in MDT group after 8 years.
LIMITATION: A number of patients were lost to follow up after release from treatment and thus actual number of relapses in the study could not be assessed. Additionally, diagnosis was purely clinical and histology could not be done for reasons related to functional difficulties in the field.
CONCLUSION: The study shows that PB-MDT and ROM-6 have almost similar acceptability, cure rate and relapse rate.