Since the cause of ME/CFS remains a mystery, most treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. Types of medications that may be prescribed include:
- Sleep – initiators and sustainers
- Antidepressants (SSRI, SNRI or tricyclic) – for depression, sleep and pain
- Analgesics (NSAID, Cox II inhibitor, opioid, topical) – for pain
- Stimulants – for energy improvement and mental acuity
- Muscle relaxants – for pain and sleep
- Anticonvulsants – for pain, sleep and mood stabilization
- Vasopressors (blood vessel constrictors/blood pressure raisers) – for orthostatic intolerance
- Beta Blockers – for orthostatic intolerance
Researchers believe that chronic infection is a problem for at least some ME/CFS patients. Clinical trials are currently being conducted on a number of antiviral and antibacterial medications for the treatment of ME/CFS.
People with ME/CFS tend to be highly sensitive to medications. Therefore, dosages are usually started at very low levels and gradually adjusted to a level that is both well-tolerated and therapeutic.
Every patient is different. What works for one may not work for another. Physicians and patients need to work together to discover which drug, or combination of drugs, works best.