Forty-six of 47 patients diagnosed as having chronic fatigue and
offered treatment four years previously were followed up.
Twenty-nine patients were interviewed, three patients refused
an interview, and information on the remaining 14 was obtained
from their general practitioners. All the instruments used at
interview had been used in the initial study. The long-term
prognosis for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who have
initially responded to treatment is good. Spontaneous recovery
in those who declined or who did not benefit from treatment is
unlikely. Patients who continue to fulfil the criteria for
chronic fatigue syndrome four years after they were initially
diagnosed are likely to have had more somatic disorders, to
have been more fatigued, and to have had a previous
psychiatric history when they were initially assessed.
Chalder T, Butler S, Wessely S