Last updated: August 17, 2019
Topic: HealthDisease
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Leprosy i.e. Hansens disease is a chronic infective disease known to be caused by the acid-fast, bacillar B Mycobacterium leprae M leprae.

With mentions of the disease dating as far back as 1550B.C. , Hansen’s disease has ever been believed to be a fearful disfiguring disease for which no intervention would of all time be able to bring around. ( 2 ) Often times, persons affected with Hansen’s diseases are subjected to banishment and forsaking, and are forced to populate in unintegrated ‘leper settlements ‘ for which unluckily still do be today in states such as India, China and Romania. It was n’t merely until 1873, when Dr. Amauer Hansen of Norway foremost characterised the causative pathogen, Mycobacterium leprae, involvements in the disease and intervention for the disease began pouring in. ( 2, 3 )EpidemiologyGlobally, leprosy remains as a prevailing issue in parts of South East Asia, South America, Africa, Western Pacific and the East Mediterranean.

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( 4 ) Leprosy for a fact is known to by and large manifests in both semitropical and tropical temperate climes and this may be exemplified by states such as India, Brazil and Indonesia being the top three states with most figure of reported leprosy instances in 2010. ( 2,4 ) However, since the debut of a multidrug therapy ( MDT ) by the World Health Organisation ( WHO ) in 1985, about 11.5 million persons affected with Hansen’s diseases have already been cured of the disease.

In 2009, 244 796 instances of Hansen’s disease have been freshly detected globally, and the registered prevalence at the start of 2010 totalled to 211 903 instances, ensuing in a planetary prevalence of registered leprosy instances of merely 1.77 per 10 000. ( 4 )Worlds unluckily nevertheless represent the chief bearers for M Leprae. Besides adult male, merely the wild nine-banded armadillos are besides known to be hosts of the micro-organism. Hitherto, no other life beings are known to be natural hosts of M Leprae. ( 2, 3 ) In a survey conducted by Truman et Al, a distinguishable M Leprae genotype ‘3I-2-v1 ‘ was found in three stricken patients and in nine-banded armadillos captured indiscriminately from the natural state in the southern provinces of the United States ( i.e.

Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas ) . Obviously, Truman et al suggested the possibility of a zoonotic factor in the transmittal of M. Leprae. ( 5 )However, most persons are physically immune to an infection with M Leprae and the disease is seldom of all time fatal.

( 2,3 ) Primary effect of an infection crucially involves nerve damage and enfeebling sequelae. ( 6 )[ Insert Image of Mycobacterium M Leprae ]MicrobiologyOver the last two decennaries, patterned advance into the apprehension of the microbiology of M Leprae has helped bridged the spreads of cognition associated with Hansen’s disease. The capableness to infect and reproduce M Leprae on mouse padders has non merely get the better of the challenge of cultivating M Leprae in cell civilization, but it has besides provided chances for elaborate microbiological probes and clinical surveies. ( 7 )For the most, M Leprae, a Gram-positive and obligate intracellular parasite, is known to exhibit tropism for macrophages and Schwann cells, and is figured to boom preponderantly in parts of lower organic structure temperature ( e.g.

tegument, upper respiratory piece of land, eyes and peripheral nervousnesss ) . Predilection for Schwann cells are due vitally to the affinity to the G sphere of the 2 concatenation of laminin-2, which are found in copiousness in the basal lamina of Schawnn cells. Obviously, effects of an infection are cutaneal in nature and at times may affect lasting disablement caused by badly impaired nervus map.Additionally, clinical manifestations of leprosy vary depending upon host immune responses towards M Leprae.

The complex mixture of polyoses and glycolipids which forms the cytoplasmatic membrane of M Leprae represents of import marks of host immune responses. Phenolic glycolipid I ( PGL-I ) for illustration, a constituent of the membrane is known to excite both a particular and powerful Immunoglublin M ( IgM ) response that is proportionate to the bacterial burden in patient. Consequently, intervention direction will change depending upon the different clinical manifestations of the disease.

Furthermore, with leprosy epidemiological linkage between exposure and manifestation of the disease is complex. The period between infection and oncoming of the disease varies significantly between merely a few months to 30 to 40 old ages. Correspondingly, due to the deficiency of peculiar regulative cistrons and a exclusive dependence of on host metabolic merchandises, M Leprae is known to necessitate a drawn-out doubling period of 14 yearss, the longest amongst all known pathogens. This may in bend explain the insidious incubation period of Hansen’s disease.Clinical ManifestationsAs aforementioned, variableness in host immune responses corresponds to diverse clinical manifestations of the disease. Consequently, based on a categorization system designed by the WHO, Hansen’s disease may be categorised based on the figure of skin lesions present and the presence of B determined via a slit-skin smear scrutiny.

Paucibacillary Hansen ‘s disease on one manus is defined as lesser than six skin lesions without the presence of B on slit-skin smear testing. Multibacillary Hansen ‘s disease on the other manus, is characterized by six or more lesions with or without positive tegument smear consequences. Notably, paucibacillary patients with positive skin-slit vilifications are automatically reclassified as multibacillary afflicted to guarantee the effectivity of intervention direction.However, classical characteristics of leprosy include skin lesions, failing or numbness, and even oculus hurting or ocular damage. If left untreated, the disease may ensue in lasting harm to the tegument, nervus, limbs or eyes. In this instance of a 25 twelvemonth old female diagnosed with multibacillary Hansen ‘s disease, the patient may foremost show with legion anesthetic tegument lesions ( a‰?6 ) with symmetrical distributions. The skin lesions may to boot exhibit hypopigmentation or erythema, and may be easy confused for other dermatological conditions ( e.g.

dermatitis, ringworm corporis and psoriasis ) .Appreciably, the expansion of certain peripheral nervousnesss ( e.g. ulnar, average and posterior tibial nervus ) is a hallmark mark of Hansen’s disease. Due to the tropism and subsequent generation of M Leprae within Schwann cells, expansion of peculiar peripheral nervousnesss ensues.

Therefore, attendant expansion of these nervousnesss may farther bespeak Hansen’s disease as the diagnosing.Damage afflicted from the accretion of M Leprae within Schwann cells may besides ensue in other distinguishable marks of Hansen’s disease. For illustration “ clawing ” of the custodies or pes is normally reported instances distinct of Hansen’s disease.In instances of the multibacillary signifier of the disease, leonine facies ( i.e. lion-like visual aspect ) may besides be manifested.[ Image of Multibacillary Skin Lesions ][ Image of Peripheral Nerve Enlargement ][ Image of Leonine Facies ]Type II ( Cytotoxic ) Hypersensitivity ReactionUnder normal fortunes, immune responses are in topographic point to battle infections and to later advance healing and Restoration in the events of hurts.

In certain cases nevertheless, immune responses in certain selective persons may respond abnormally or hyperbolically to certain substances ( e.g. pollens, nutrient materials or drugs ) others would n’t usually make. These hypersensitivity reactions may ensue in serious harm to the host and at times may even take to decease.

( 9, 10, 11 )Depending on the mechanism involved and clip taken for a allergic reaction to happen, hypersensitivity reactions may be classified harmonizing to 4 different classs based on the Gels and Coombs categorization strategy ( i.e. type I, type II, type III and type IV ) .

In a type II hypersensitivity reaction specifically, immunoglobulin G ( IgG ) or IgM antibodies are involved in the devastation of blood cells ( e.g. red blood cells, leucocytes and platelets ) by complement-induced lysis or by antibody-dependent-cellular-toxicity ( ADCC ) .

More significantly in type II hypersensitivity reactions, certain drugs ( e.g. penicillin, chloramphenical, sulphonamides ) or haptens may ensue in hemolytic anemia, thrombopenia or neutropenia. As a consequence, this may accordingly impact any intervention options available to a patient. In this peculiar instance for illustration, the chances of a 25 twelvemonth old female with multibacillary Hansen ‘s disease is farther complicated by a terrible type II allergic reaction. Consequently, intervention options for this patient are farther limited down to a smattering of picks, therefore puting a hazard for intervention failure. Crucially, a positive direct or indirect Coomb ‘s trial may be used as a collateral trial to find the possible immunogenicity of peculiar drugs prior to the induction of therapy.


Before the debut of the MDT, dapsone ( diamino-diphenylsulphone ) was ab initio thought of to be the long anticipated remedy for Hansen’s disease. Dapsone was foremost used as a monotherapy but it required patients to be on long term, frequently womb-to-tomb intervention due its slow bactericidal activity. Old ages after its debut nevertheless, over and uncontrolled usage of dapsone led the outgrowth of immune M Leprae strains. Globally, primary and secondary opposition rates soared to every bit high as 50 % and 19 % severally. In response to the dismaying menace to leprosy control, in 1982 intervention for Hansen’s disease was revolutionised with the coming of MDT. The construct of uniting several drugs was ideally aimed at restricting the development of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Since so, about 11.5 million persons have been treated with MDT.

Curative effectivity in the context of handling leprosy nevertheless is determined by mensurating rate of backslidings following successful completion of a scheduled class of intervention. Rate of backslidings since the debut of MDT was discovered to be merely 0.06 % among multibacillary afflicted patients globally, therefore turn outing the curative efficaciousness of MDT.

Since so, MDT has been the pillar first-line regimen for the intervention of Hansen’s disease.Table 1: Recommended MDT harmonizing to the WHO and National Hansen ‘s Disease Program ( NHDP ) for intervention of multibacillary Hansen ‘s disease.WHONHDPDapsone 100mg/dayRifampicin 600mg/moClofazimine 100mg/mofor 12 monthsDapsone 100mg/dayRifampicin 600mg/dayClofazimine 50mg/dayFor 24 months


Dapsone, which represents a constituent of the MDT, exhibits structural similarities to sulphonamides. It is known to aim dihydropteorate synthase, a cardinal enzyme involved in the folate biogenesis tract in M Leprae.In a survey conducted in 1975 utilizing mouse padder theoretical accounts, Louis Levy detected a pertinent interval between the growing curves attained from transitions from control and dapsone-treated mice.

A 99.4 % riddance rate of feasible M leprae with the usage of dapsone as a remarkable therapy was observed and the growing curves comparing treated and command mice exhibited an mean 78 twenty-four hours hold between both groups, with the B from the treated mice dawdling behind. Appositely, dapsone was concluded to hold exhibited both bacteriostatic and bactericide consequence. Despite the fact nevertheless, in comparing to the efficaciousness of rifampicin, dapsone was merely considered to be decrepit bactericidal against M leprae. For the most, it is used in combination with rifampicin and clofazimine crucially to forestall the outgrowth of immune strains.Missense mutant within codons 53 and 55 of the folP1 cistron encoding dihyropteorate synthase has been implicated in the outgrowth of dapsone immune strains.

Patients whom are likely to get worse after either dapsone monotherapy or MDT would most likely show mutant folP1 cistrons instead than rpoB cistrons ( i.e. rifampicin immune cistrons ) .In certain instances, patients missing glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase ( G6PD ) started on dapsone therapy may exhibit methaemoglobinemia and haemolysis.

Adverse events as such bounds the usage of dapsone and therefore requires patients to be screened for G6PD lack prior to get downing therapy.


Rifampicin on the other manus, which represents the cardinal constituent of MDT, is known to be the most disinfectant antileprotic agent available. Numerous surveies at most have highlighted its potent and rapid activity against M Leprae ( ) . A survey conducted by Levy et Al for illustration demonstrated no feasible B via mouse padder trials merely after 4 yearss of a individual 600mg dosage of rifampicin.

Additionally, a survey by Ji et al established that rifampicin was more disinfectant when compared to any combination of new antileprotic agents ( e.g. clarithromycin-minocyclin-ofloxacin, clarithromycin-minocyclin and dapsone-clofazimine ) .Rifampicin basically acts on the I?-subunit of the DNA dependant RNA polymerase encoded by rpoI? . It is ne’er used as monotherapy due to the hazard of rapid development of immune strains.

Depending on the intervention algorithm by WHO or NHDP, rifampicin may be taken on a monthly footing or even a day-to-day footing. Crucially nevertheless, it was noted that patients are less likely to get worse if prescribed rifampicin on a day-to-day footing.Due to the hazard of a allergic reaction towards rifampicin, it is most advisable for the patient in this instance to partake in a Coomb ‘s allergological trial. If unluckily tested positive, an alternate regimen to MDT may necessitate to be considered alternatively.

Sing the fact that rifampicin represents the chief constituent of MDT, therapy for Hansen’s disease without rifampicin would necessarily cut down the chances of the patient and besides increase the hazards of backsliding.Adverse effects with the usage of rifampicin normally include hepatoxicity, unease and roseola. Patients may at times besides experience a ruddy stain of the piss but it is nevertheless harmless. In a instance of a allergic reaction, the patient may exhibit hemolysis, thrombopenia or even neutrocytopenia.


Clofazimine crucially represents the 3rd and last constituent of the MDT. Despite an unestablished mechanism of action to day of the month, the antibacterial activity of clofazimine has been attributed to both its lipophilic and anti-inflammatory belongingss. For the most, the extremely lipotropic belongings of clofazimine enables it to roll up in the tegument and nervousnesss, the similar sites whereby M Leprae resides.

Additionally, the anti-inflammatory belongingss of clofazimine has been hypothesised to cut down the happenings of harmful erythrosum nodum leprosum ( ENL ) reactions.Clofazimine, if used singularly, even at 600mg monthly as demonstrated by Jamet et Al, was merely partly effectual in extinguishing M Leprae. Thus, likewise to dapsone, it is to be used a combination therapy to forestall the outgrowth of immune M Leprae strains. A normally celebrated side consequence with the usage of clofazimine includes a red-brown stain of the tegument and conjunctiva, both of which are reversible upon discontinuance of therapy.

Multidrug Therapy

Over the last 3 decennaries, overall responses towards MDT have been comparatively satisfactory.

The usage of dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine in combination was well tolerable and were devoid of major interactions. The disinfectant activity of MDT crucially became the benchmark in finding the effectivity of newer combination regimens. Relapse rates, as antecedently mentioned were comparatively low.Recommended intervention continuances nevertheless vary between regimen algorithms. As per WHO, a 12 dose regimen was thought to be sufficient. Conversely, as per the NHDP, a 24 month continuance intervention was considered suitably intensive.

Gross saless et al described no important differences in diminution of bacillary degrees between the 12 and 24 dose multidrug regimens. Katoch nevertheless associated increased rates of backslidings due to an deficient decrease in B index ( BI ) after 12 months of therapy. Controversially, assorted beginnings have even recommended intervention continuances till smear-negatives are achieved ; nevertheless this depends really much on the initial BI count prior to induction of therapy. In some instances patients may necessitate up to 5-6 old ages to accomplish smear negatives. ( Ref 65 from Progresss in Treatment 21113 )As such, depending on the badness of the disease, an intensive 24 months therapy of MDT or till smear negatives are achieved may be most suited as a first line intervention option for this patient. As per the NHDP, 100mg of dapsone, 600mg of rifampicin and 50mg of clofazimine is to be each taken daily for 24 months.

Prior to the induction of therapy, is required of the patient to undergo an indirect or direct Coomb ‘s trial. Owing to her terrible type 2 hypersensitivity reaction, this places the patient at an immunologic hazard to the usage of both dapsone and rifampicin. Appropriately, an alternate regimen to MDT must be considered.

Alternate Regimens

If the patient nevertheless has established once and for all that she exhibits allergic reactions towards any of the standard MDT drugs ( i.e. rifampicin or dapsone ) , other antileprotic agents must be considered. Alternate intervention options include combinations of ofloxacin, moxifloxacin minocyline and clarithromycin. At the really most, each agent has exhibited disinfectant activity against M Leprae, but these effects despite being used in combination are however uncomparable to that displayed by rifampicin.

( progresss in intervention ) These regimens include ;rifampicin + ofloxacin + Minocin ( ROM )Clarithromycin + ofloxacin + Minocin ( COM )moxifloxacinIn short, Minocin is the lone member of tetracycline category active against Mycobacteriaceae. It maps by adhering to the 30s and 50s ribosomal fractional monetary units and accordingly suppressing protein synthesis. Clarithromycin instead, is an erythromycin derived function besides known to suppress protein synthesis by adhering into to the 50s ribosomal fractional monetary units. Ofloxacin on the other manus is the recommended option to rifampicin by WHO. It maps by suppressing DNA gyrase, therefore interfering with cell reproduction. Similarly, moxifloxacin belongs to the same category of drug as ofloxacin but is known to be more disinfectant than ofloxacin.

Rifampicin + Ofloxacin + Minocycline

ROM chiefly consists of rifampicin, ofloxacin and Minocin. ROM may be represented as an alternate regimen for patients whom are contraindicated to the dapsone constituent of MDT.

In assorted surveies using mouse padder trials and clinical tests, the usage of ofloxacin and Minocin in combination exhibited greater bactericidal activity than dapsone and clofazimine. ( Time to Test ROM 1, 2, 3 )Additionally, in a survey by Villahermosa et al measuring the effectivity of ROM ( n=10 ) against the effectivity of the WHO-MDT ( n=11 ) amongst multibacillary afflicted patients, both groups exhibited similar decreases in average BI degrees. ROM of which was given for 24 back-to-back monthly observed doses of rifampicin ( 600mg ) , ofloxacin ( 400mg ) and Minocin ( 100mg ) were by and large good tolerated and were devoid of intervention failures, although all MDT treated patients developed clofazimine induced skin stain. Additionally, histological betterments were similar in both groups and no grounds of backsliding was shown during follow up. Crucially nevertheless, despite exposing assuring results, the intervention size in this survey ( Villahermosa ) was little and may non justify for similar results in a larger population size. Furthermore, the cost of a ROM regimen quadruples the cost of a standard WHO-MDT regimen.Pertinently, in a recent systemic reappraisal ( Setia MS ) measuring several surveies ( n=6 ) using ROM against MDT, it was made known overall that ROM was every bit effectual as MDT in cut downing BI degrees in patients ( proportion alteration: -4 % , 95 % CI -31 % to 23 % ) . Similarly, no major interactions were identified and that ROM was by and large good accepted.

Patients whom are nevertheless allergic towards rifampicin may confront a higher hazard of intervention failure and eventual backsliding. To day of the month, merely a twosome of regimens are available, nevertheless merely with limited grounds to back up its usage.

Clarithromycin + Ofloxacin + Minocycline

In a survey by Xiong et al measuring the combination of clarithromycin, ofloxacin and Minocin ( COM ) via mouse footpad trial, disposal of a individual dosage of the three drug combination eliminated 98.4 % of feasible M. Leprae, about similar to that produced by a individual dosage of rifampicin ( 99.4 % ) .XIONG, J. , J1, B.

, PERANI, E. G. PETINON, C. andGROSSET, J. Further survey of the effectivity ofsingle doses of clarithromycin and minocyclineagainst Mvcobacterium /eprae in mice. Int.

J.Lepr. 62 ( 1994 ) 37-42Ji, B.

, PERANI, E. G. , PI: TINON, C. and GROSSET, J.Bactericidal activities of combinations of newdrugs against Mvcobacterium /eprae in bare mice.Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 40 ( 1996 ) 393-399.

Similarly, in a survey by Ji et al measuring the disposal of a individual monthly dosage of COM ( i.e. 2000 milligram of clarithromycin, 200mg of Minocin and 800mg of ofloxacin ) in MB afflicted patients ( n=10 ) , a similar grade of bactericidal activity as to that of the mouse theoretical account was observed. In the same survey, patients treated with COM demonstrated betterments in morphological indices similar to those treated with ROM ( n=10 ) but most nevertheless besides suffered from mild to chair GI perturbations due to the usage of clarithromycin.

Gastrointestinal perturbations nevertheless subsided within a few hours after disposal. The fact that the patients have merely received a individual dosage of COM may non even be sufficient to propose the demand for the discontinuance of therapy due to clarithromycin. More significantly, because most surveies have merely experimented with a individual dosage in 1 month, appropriate intervention continuance with COM for the intervention of MB has yet to be suggested. Therefore, assumingly if the patient is started on COM, it would be most advisable that she should be on a drawn-out intervention ( a‰? 2 old ages ) or till smear negatives are obtained, although every bit aforementioned, there is no grounds to back up this suggestion.Bactericidal Activity of Single Dose of Clarithromycin plus Minocycline, with or without Ofloxacin, against Mycobacterium leprae in Patients


Unlike Cipro, moxifloxacin along with ofloxacin have proven disinfectant activity against M Leprea. Studies nevertheless have proven that moxifloxacin is more disinfectant than ofloxacin and interestingly, every bit every bit powerful as rifampicin.

1 Moxifloxacin may potentially be used as replacing of ofloxacin, but monotherapy or combination therapy affecting moxifloxacin is yet to be extensively studied.Surveies presently available at most analysed little groups of patients with an initial dosage of 400mg of moxifloxacin, followed by 7 yearss of non-therapy, and later daily supervised 400mg doses from twenty-four hours 8 to twenty-four hours 56. At the terminal of each test, patients are so started on a standard WHO-MDT, therefore doing it improbable to find the true efficaciousness or finding rates of backsliding with the usage of moxifloxacin.In a recent survey conducted in the Philippines by Eleanor et Al for illustration, moxifloxacin was demonstrated in eight MB to hold eliminated a mean of 91 % of feasible M Leprae. Skin lesions were described to hold improved on a regular basis throughout the 56-day test period and patients merely suffered from comparatively mild symptoms ( e.

g. diarrhea, giddiness and epigastric hurting ) . The survey as antecedently mentioned, was truly little and no elaborate follow up station intervention was attained.As with the history of the usage of dapsone nevertheless, it is really much unacceptable to allow the usage of moxifloxacin as a monotherapy for the intervention of Hansen’s disease.

Crucially, combination therapy with other agents such as clarithromycin and Minocin, therefore replacing ofloxacin, may be practical to forestall the outgrowth of immune M Leprae strains. Likewise with COM, there are no groundss to back up this suggestion.Gillespie, S. H. , and O. Billington. 1999. Activity of moxifloxacin against mycobacterium.

J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 44:393-395.

Powerful Bactericidal Activity of Moxifloxacin in Human Leprosy Fe Eleanor 2008.

Treatment Plan


Dapsone 100mg/dailyRifampicin 600mg/dailyClofazimine 50mg/dailyfor 2 old ages1st Linecontraindicated to dapsonecontraindicated to rifampicin


Clarithromycin 2000mg/monthlyOfloxacin 800mg/monthlyMinocylcline 200mg/monthlya‰? 2 old ages or till smear negatives are achieved

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Rifampicin 600mg/monthlyOfloxacin 400mg/monthlyMinocycline 100mg/monthlysupervised for 2 old ages2nd LineMoxifloxacin 400mg/dailyClarithromycin 2000mg/monthlyMinocycline 200mg/monthly3rd Line