Clinical Trial Showing Some Success
For the first time, people with chronic fatigue syndrome are seeing a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Chronic fatigue syndrome is often misunderstood, according to an NBC HealthWatch report. It's much more than being tired: It comes with pain and all kinds of sickness. "I basically just kind of fell off the planet," said Michael Jorgensen. "I didn't leave my room. I was just so tired and in so much pain that a day consisted of me laying in bed and occasionally getting up." Now, for the first time, this new experimental drug called ampligen may be reversing symptoms of a little understood, but very real disease, called chronic fatigue syndrome.
"In a significant subset of patients, this drug shows benefit in a way that no other intervention has shown so far," said Dr. Lucinda Bateman, an internal medicine specialist. Jorgensen is part of a rare FDA-approved clinical trial that seems to be showing some success. Jorgensen 's mother says her son was so bad at one point, he crawled, exhausted and in pain, on his hands and knees up the stairs from his bedroom. But life is different now. "Instead of me just slowly creeping up the stairs, I would have some energy," Jorgensen said. "She knew, she could hear my feet almost running up the stairs."
For the first time, these infusions appear to be strengthening the patient's immune system. The compound also contains anti-viral components, perhaps attacking the low-level or latent viral infections that may be possible triggers for chronic fatigue syndrome. But Bateman said the trials may serve another purpose. "(They) will also demonstrate something about the pathophysiology of this disease, and prove to naysayers that this disease exists," she said. "Mostly the world is waiting for some evidence. This study may be the beginning of that." It's estimated that about 500,000 people in the country have symptoms of chronic fatigue. Copyright 2004 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved.