Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Alternate Names : CFS, Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment must be tailored to fit each person with chronic fatigue syndrome, depending on symptoms and response to different therapies. There are two types of therapy: behavior therapy and drug therapy.
Behavior therapy may include:
attending support group meetings
avoiding caffeine and alcohol
cognitive behavioral therapy, to help the person change perceptions and beliefs about his or her health status
eating a balanced diet
moderate exercise, being careful to avoid overexertion
receiving regular, individual counseling
relaxation methods, such as meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis
Drug therapy may include:
antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, venlafaxine, and bupropion
antihistamines, such as astemizole and loratidine
blood pressure medications, such as fludrocortisone and atenolol
decongestants for nasal or sinus congestion
muscle relaxing medications to relieve muscle spasms
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and piroxicam
tricyclic medications to relieve pain and promote sleep, including doxepin, amitriptyline, desipramine, and nortriptyline
Because chronic fatigue syndrome is difficult to treat and the course of the disease is unpredictable, many people with CFS use alternative therapies to relieve or reduce symptoms. Some of these therapies include:
craniosacral therapy, which addresses the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the body
hydrotherapy, which is also called water therapy
tai chi, which combines exercise and balance
What are the side effects of the treatments?
NSAIDs can cause stomach upset and allergic reactions. Antidepressants may cause problems sleeping, headaches, or stomach upset.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
The course of CFS is very difficult to predict. Fortunately, most people eventually get better with or without treatment, though a cure is often not possible. People may return to normal activities whenever they feel able.
How is the condition monitored?
Affected people are in the best position to monitor the condition. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.