The historical development of multi drug therapy for the treatment of Hansen's disease
Terrell, Jody A.C.
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Hansen's disease carries many fears because of how it has been portrayed. Since Biblical times as a curse from God, a sentence of living death, and a life away from family and friends in isolation and seclusion. Patients today continue to live in isolation; they live with fear and depression. This is brought about as a result of persistent attitudes of the community members toward Hansen's disease. Hansen's disease when diagnosed and treated is not contagious. It can be treated and cured and the devastating effects of it can be avoided if medication is taken for the prescribed time. Patient education, compliance with treatment, and family and community support are necessary to eradicate this devastating disease along with its stigma. Through the years, treatment of Hansen's disease has evolved from the earliest treatments of isolation to the present and effective treatment of multi drug therapy. Major steps to achieve this treatment came about by isolating the bacteria that causes Hansen's disease known as Microbacterium leprae and finding the right combination of drugs that can effectively destroy the Microbacterium yet be safe for the patient. The number of cases of Hansen's disease as decreased somewhat, although many patients fail to get early treatment. In addition to receiving better health care and more advanced drug treatments, people must also be educated about the reality of the disease. Knowledge takes away fear and by learning about Hansen's disease and the treatments available, the goals of the World Health Organization to eliminate the threat and fear of Hansen's disease by the year 2000 can be achieved.