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Abstract: Immunologic and psychologic therapy for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

  [ 14 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 8, 2002

Lloyd AR, Hickie I, Brockman A, Hickie C, Wilson A, Dwyer J, Wakefield D  American Journal of Medicine 1993; 94: 197-203


PURPOSE: To evaluate the potential benefit of immunologic therapy with dialyzable leukocyte extract and psychologic treatment in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Immunologic and psychologic treatments were administered to 90 adult patients who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for CFS in a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study. A four-cell trial design allowed the assessment of benefit from immunologic and psychologic treatment individually or in combination. Outcome was evaluated by measurement of global well-being (visual analogue scales), physical capacity (standardized diaries of daily activities), functional status (Karnofsky performance scale), and psychologic morbidity (Profile of Mood States questionnaire), and cell-mediated immunity was evaluated by peripheral blood T-cell subset analysis and delayed-type hypersensitivity skin testing.

RESULTS: Neither dialyzable leukocyte extract nor CBT (alone or in combination) provided greater benefit than the nonspecific treatment regimens.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, patients with CFS did not demonstrate a specific response to immunologic and/or psychologic therapy. The improvement recorded in the group as a whole may reflect both nonspecific treatment effects and a propensity to remission in the natural history of this disorder.


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