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WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Leprosy
(1998; 28 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDiagnosis of leprosy
View the documentClassification of leprosy
View the documentTreatment of leprosy
View the documentTreatment of lepra reactions
View the documentTreatment of neuritis
View the documentTreatment of eye complications
View the documentManagement of nerve damage
View the documentTreatment of leprosy during pregnancy and lactation
View the documentTreatment of patient with concomitant active tuberculosis
View the documentTreatment of patients with concomitant HIV infection
Open this folder and view contentsTreatment of leprosy in special situations
Open this folder and view contentsDrug data sheets

Classification of leprosy

For treatment purposes patients can be divided into three groups: paucibacillary single-lesion leprosy, paucibacillary leprosy and multibacillary leprosy. Skin smears were originally used to distinguish between paucibacillary and multibacillary leprosy. However, because services for processing skin smears are not always available, and also because their reliability is often doubtful, in practice most leprosy programmes classify and choose the appropriate regimen for a particular patient using clinical criteria, which uses the number of skin lesions and nerves involved to classify leprosy patients into paucibacillary single-lesion leprosy (one skin lesion), paucibacillary leprosy (2-5 skin lesions) and multibacillary leprosy (more than five skin lesions).

When skin smears are available and are dependable, any patient with a positive skin smear, irrespective of the clinical picture, must be classified as multibacillary leprosy and must be treated with the multidrug therapy regimen for multibacillary leprosy.


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