Diagnostic and treatment challenges of chronic fatigue syndrome: Role of immediate-release methylphenidate – Source: Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, June 2008

[Methylphenidate (RitalinR) is a prescription central nervous system stimulant commonly used to treat ADHD and daytime drowsiness/narcolepsy. It increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.]

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a distinct entity belonging to the group of persistent fatigue that can be challenging to diagnose and to treat. It is characterized by a combination of prolonged fatigue, other nonspecific somatic manifestations and neuropsychological symptoms, including difficulties with concentration, short-term memory and thinking, as well as impaired attention and slowed processing speed.

Neurostimulants increasing dopamine and norepinephrine activity, such as bupropion, dextroamphetamine and recently immediate-release methylphenidate have been advocated to improve neurocognitive deficits.

The use of immediate-release methylphenidate in CFS has been shown in one small study. Using the positive results of this study and the well-known beneficial effects of the drug on a range of similar cognitive symptoms in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, this perspective addresses CFS and other related disorders and provides a discussion on the potential promising role of methylphenidate in the therapeutic armamentarium of CFS.

Source: Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. June 2008. 8(6):917-27. PMID: 18505357 by Valdizan Uson JR, Idiazabal Alecha MA. Servicio de Neurofisiología Clínica, Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Zaragoza, Spain. [E-mail: jrvaldizan@auna.com]

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