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Pharmaceutical Medications for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Pharmaceutical Medications The list of pharmaceuticals prescribed for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) is extensive, spanning a broad range of drugs - from over-the-counter medications, to narcotics and immune modulators.

The reason there is such a wide array is that treatments are aimed at both alleviating symptoms, which in ME/CFS are numerous, and at correcting secondary infections, which are found in the majority of ME/CFS patients. Physicians have found that by correcting secondary infections, while alleviating the most troubling symptoms, patients can make considerable improvement. Neither of these types of treatments directly address the immune system dysregulation that underlies the disease, however. (See experimental treatments)

The mostly commonly prescribed medications for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis are antidepressants. In a recent survey on antidepressants conducted by ProHealth, of the 20 antidepressant medications listed, there wasn't one that had not been tried by the respondents. In fact, each antidepressant listed had been taken by a significant portion of the respondents (range of 32% to 66%), with an average of 9 different prescription antidepressants per person.

A survey of over 4,000 ME/CFS patients conducted in Great Britain found that 35%- 40% of the respondents had taken antidepressants. The results of both surveys confirmed that while antidepressants were among the most commonly prescribed medications for ME/CFS, more than one-third of ME/CFS patients reported feeling worse after taking them.

Physicians who treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis generally try to mitigate their patients' most severe symptoms. Typically, they begin with sleep disorder, pain, orthostatic intolerance, and cognitive dysfunction. Some physicians treat cognitive problems with stimulants (e.g. Adderall), but most specialists recommend avoiding the use of stimulants because they cause an increase in fatigue.

Below are some prescription and over-the-counter drugs recommended by ME /CFS clinicians for four of the most commonly experienced symptoms. (In spite of the fact that all ME/CFS patients experience fatigue - of various sorts - there is no drug that will treat it. As Dr. Paul Cheney put it, "treating fatigue is treating the illness itself.")

Note: Because patients with ME/CFS frequently have sensitivities and allergies, as well as paradoxical reactions to medications, all of these treatments must be supervised by a physician, regardless of whether a prescription is required. It is always best to begin with a very low dose.

Sleep Medications

Over-the-Counter
Benadryl
Ibuprofen PM
Prescription
Ambien, Sonata, Restoril, Rozerem
Antidepressants (doxepin, trazodone, etc.)
Benzodiazepines (clonazepam)
Gabapentin
Muscle relaxers (Flexeril)

Pain Medications

Over-the-Counter
Tylenol
NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, etc.)
Prescription
Anticonvulsants (Topamax, Zonegran)
Toradol
Narcotics (Demerol)
Nitroglycerin

Medications for Orthostatic Intolerance

Over-the-Counter
Electrolyte solutions
Prescription
Florinef
Pyridostigmine
Beta-Blockers (Metoprolol)

Cognitive Dysfunction

Over-the-Counter
Piracetam
Prescription
Calcium Channel Blockers
CNS Stimulants
Diamox






Further Reading


Fighting Those Persistent Infections in CFIDS

Chronic Pain Control Basics for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia
Of the difficult but treatable symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, chronic pain is rarely treated adequately.
Report From Paris: Peterson Reports Antiviral (Vistide) Effective in Treating Herpesvirus Infected Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Patients
In a presentation at the HHV6 Conference in Paris, Dr. Peterson reports that the antiviral Vistide is effective for a subgroup of ME/CFS patients with high viral titers.
 
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