Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and a Disorder Resembling Sjogren’s Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), as currently described in the working criteria proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta), may be associated with multiple, distinct, and possibly unique clinical and/or etiopathogenic subsets. Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) is a disease of unknown etiology that is characterized by dryness of the mucous membranes and a variety of autoimmune phenomena and conditions. Subjective manifestations of SS such as neurocognitive dysfunction and fatigue have been stressed by some observers. We have detected a large number of patients with unrecognized SS-like illness in a clinical specializing in CFS and believe the relationship to be more than casual.

From January 1991 through April 1992, 172 patients were evaluated for CFS; the SS cohort consisted of 27 females (mean age, 41.9 years). Sixteen of these patients had previously been found to have CFS by a physician, and 11 were self-referred. All patients complained of severe, dominating, chronic fatigue. Complaints of myalgia were prominent; 20 of 27 patients met the criteria for fibromyalgia. Neurocognitive complaints and/or a history of neuropsychiatric disease was frequent. Results of Schirmer’s test were abnormal for 16 of 27, and results of minor salivary-gland biopsy were abnormal for 20 of 25. Antibodies to nuclear antigen were present in 16 of 27, but anti-Ro was present in only 1 of 21. In the SS group, 13 of 27 patients met eight or more CDC minor criteria for CFS, and 18 of 27 met six or more of the criteria.

Calabrese LH, Davis ME, Wilke WS

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