Severe refractory erythema nodosum leprosum successfully treated with the tumor necrosis factor inhibitor etanercept.
Erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), or type II reaction, is a common complication of lepromatous leprosy that can cause significant patient debility. First-line therapy includes prednisone and thalidomide, with clofazimine reserved for patients who do not respond to first-line treatment. We present the case of a 33-year-old woman with ENL that failed to respond adequately to conventional therapy over a 6-year period. Because of the severe nature of her disease and the adverse effects of therapy that she experienced, a trial of etanercept was undertaken, which led to full resolution of her ENL. The rationale behind our choice of therapy and its future implications are discussed.