Treatment with extremely low doses of hydrocortisone was found more effective than placebo in alleviating fatigue in CFS with little or no side effects, according to research conducted by a group of psychiatrists in London led by Anthony J. Cleare and published in the Feb. 6, 1999, issue of The Lancet.
This result differs from a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, which found that hydrocortisone appeared to be an effective treatment for CFS but had the dangerous side effect of suppressing the adrenal system (Nov./Dec. 1998 Chronicle, page 19). The NIH study concluded that the risk to the adrenal system outweighed any potential benefit of hydrocortisone treatment. The London study, which found no such side effect, used much lower doses of the treatment, 5–10 mg instead of the 25–35 mg used in the NIH study.