Leprosy can be cured. In the last two decades, 16 million people with leprosy have been cured. The World Health Organization provides free treatment for all people with leprosy. Treatment depends on the type of leprosy that you have. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. Long-term treatment with two or more antibiotics is recommended, usually from six months to a year. People with severe leprosy may need to take antibiotics longer. Antibiotics cannot treat the nerve damage. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to control nerve pain and damage related to leprosy. This may include steroids, such as prednisone. Patients with leprosy may also be given thalidomide, a potent medication that suppresses the body's immune system. It helps treat leprosy skin nodules. Thalidomide is known to cause severe, life-threatening birth defects and should never be taken by women who are pregnant or women who may become pregnant.