Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 93-100

Fixed-duration therapy in leprosy: Limitations and opportunities

Department of Dermatology and STD, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Devinder Mohan Thappa
Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology and STD, JIPMER, Pondicherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.108029

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Leprosy has been considered a curable disease after the implementation of multidrug therapy (MDT), which has been proven to be safe and effective, by bringing about a significant change in the global and national scenario of leprosy by upgrading the control of leprosy to the next stage of eradication. Since its introduction, the MDT regimens for the treatment of leprosy have undergone several changes especially with regard to the duration of treatment. The advantages of shortened duration of treatment need to be balanced against the risk of relapse and a lot of controversies exist pertaining to this aspect. The fixed-duration (FD) therapy is not popular among academicians and private practitioners who prefer precise diagnosis and treatment with superior MDT regimens and for a longer duration. On the contrary, from a public health-care point of view, precise diagnosis and a longer treatment schedule are not cost effective and not feasible to be implemented in elimination programs. Hence, a fine balance needs to be maintained between achieving a cure for the patient and protecting the society at risk, and this review discusses the various limitations and opportunities of FD therapy with a note on the newer MDT regimens.

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