Published today in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, this comprehensive systematic review assessed the effects of interventions used to treat, manage and rehabilitate patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)
The review examined the research evidence on behavioural, immunological, pharmacological, complementary therapies and nutritional supplements used to treat, manage and rehabilitate patients with CFS/ME. Overall, the interventions assessed demonstrated mixed results in terms of beneficial effects.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy can be effective interventions
Immunological and anti-viral treatments may have beneficial effects but are associated with harmful side-effects.
Most drug treatments have not shown beneficial effects.
CFS/ME comprises a range of symptoms including fatigue, which can be triggered by minimal activity, malaise, headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulties with concentration and muscle pain. In extreme cases, CFS/ME can cause profound, prolonged illness and disability, and can have a substantial impact on patients and their families.
Like other chronic illnesses with no certain disease process, CFS/ME poses real problems for healthcare professionals. It has been estimated that a typical general practice of 10,000 patients is likely to have at least 30-40 patients with CFS/ME, and that about half of these would require specialist services.
This systematic review was commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to inform the development of their guidelines for the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME in adults and children. The draft guidance is due to be released for public consultation on the 29 September 2006.
Paul Wilson | alfa
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