Background: In many cases standard management for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in children and adolescents is ineffective.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a video film intervention in preventing the development of persistent fatigue and significant school absence in fatigued children and adolescents.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Participants: 91 patients with fatigue [termed ‘unexplained fatigue,’ unclear from abstract if they were diagnosed with ME/CFS]; 50 were randomly assigned to receive the intervention (video film plus usual care) and 41 to usual care only.
Intervention: A video film on CFS and coping behavior.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported fatigue severity, physical activity, motivation, concentration and school absence.
Results: 79 patients had complete data at 12 months (42 in the video film and 37 in the usual care group).
• Mean [overall average] fatigue severity and school absenteeism scores did not differ significantly,
• But in the intervention group the score for reduced motivation was higher (difference 2.9 (CI 0.1 to 5.7), p=0.038).
• 18% more patients in the intervention compared to the usual care group also had persistent fatigue with significant school absence.
• The odds of developing persistent fatigue and of missing more than 50% of school classes was 3.3 times higher in the intervention than in the usual care group (OR 3.3 (CI 1.0 to 11.3), p=0.046).
This particular video film intervention plus usual care in children and adolescents with unexplained fatigue did not prevent an unfavorable outcome and possibly had an adverse effect, in that it:
• Reduced motivation
• And increased the incidence of persistent fatigue,
• With significant school absence.
The use of this particular film is not recommended.
Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood, Sep 22, 2010. Bakker RJ, van de Putte EM, Kuis W, Sinnema G. Department of Pediatrics, Antonius Ziekenhuis, Sneek, The Netherlands. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]