What is the role of medications in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Updated: Aug 29, 2018
  • Author: Jefferson R Roberts, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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No drugs have been FDA-approved for CFS treatment. Clinical trials have found that antiviral agents are ineffective in relieving the symptoms of CFS. [22] Various medications have been shown to be ineffective, including antibiotics, glucocorticoids, liver extract, chelating agents, intravenous (IV) vitamins, vitamin B-12, and IV or oral vitamin or mineral supplements. Antidepressants have no major role in the treatment of CFS.

A randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trial to evaluate the effect of cytokine inhibition with anakinra, a recombinant human interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist, was conducted and did not show any improvement in fatigue severity both in the short term (4 weeks) or the long term (6 months). [23] Future studies may evaluate inhibition of other cytokines such as IL-6, tumor necrosis factor, and/or interferons.

To date, no evidence-based interventions are available for the treatment of CFS.

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