Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Treatment

There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but most symptoms can be treated successfully. The first treatment most doctors recommend is a combination of rest, exercise, and proper diet. The patient is advised to attempt only the most important activities, to avoid over-exerting himself or herself, and to rest whenever necessary. A moderate amount of exercise is important, but too much exercise can make the disease worse. Counseling and stress reduction (learning how to better handle the pressures of everyday life) can also be helpful.

Many medications, nutritional supplements (like vitamins and minerals), and herbal preparations have been used to treat CFS. Doctors and patients should work together to arrange the best plan for each individual.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (pronounced i-byoo-PRO-fuhn) and naproxen, can be used to relieve pain and reduce fever. Antidepressants can be used to help patients relax and feel less depressed. Antianxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines (pronounced benzo-die-A-zuh-peenz), are prescribed for people with anxiety that has lasted for at least six months.

A number of other drugs are being tested for use with CFS patients. These include fludrocortisone (pronounced FLOO-dro-KOR-tih-zone, trade name Florinef) and beta-adrenergic drugs, such as atenolol (pronounced uh-TEN-uh-lol) and propranolol (pronounced pro-PRAN-uh-lol), to control blood pressure, and gamma globulin (pronounced GA-muh GLAH-byu-lun) and ampligen (pronounced AM-plih-jen), to help fight off infections.

Alternative Treatment

Nutritional supplements such as vitamins A, B 12 , C, and E, as well as some minerals, are used to treat CFS. These supplements are thought to improve the immune system and improve mental functions. Some CFS patients report improvement after using certain herbal medicines, such as echinacea (pronounced ek-i-NAY-see-uh), garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, evening primrose oil, shiitake mushroom extract, and borage seed oil.

Other therapies that have been tried in the treatment of CFS include meditation, acupuncture (a Chinese therapy treatment involving the puncturing of small needles into the body), and yoga. These therapies sometimes help people to relax and get more rest. They may also help reduce depression and anxiety.

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