Considerations on clinical trials of leprosy treatment: need of novel drug combinations

Author(s): Ximena Illarramendi, Maria Leide Wand del Rey de Oliveira, Anna Maria Sales, Jose Augusto da Costa Nery, Euzenir Nunes Sarno

Considering that after 30 years of using multidrug therapy (MDT), leprosy eradication has still not been achieved, leprosy treatment must remain on the drug discovery agenda. Due to the complexities inherent in leprosy disease and the many methodological issues involved in clinical trials, the task of translating the bench findings into clinical practice has been arduous. While the effectiveness of reducing the currently recommended MDT remains controversial, a number of highly bactericidal antibiotics and immune-modulatory drugs have emerged as prospective candidates to improve patient adherence and quality of life, reduce adverse effects and prevent resistance. To replace the standard WHO-MDT, the new combination must be the shortest, simplest and, consequently, most affordable treatment possible.