CDC Grand Rounds

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — Advancing Research and Clinical Education

Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD; Jin-Mann Sally Lin, PhD; Dana J. Brimmer, PhD; Charles W. Lapp, MD; Anthony L. Komaroff, MD; Avindra Nath, MD; Susan Laird, MSN; John Iskander, MD


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016;65(5051):1434-1438. 

In This Article

Treatment of ME/CFS

At this time, there are no treatments (pharmacologic or nonpharmacologic) that have been proven effective in large randomized trials and replicated by other investigators in other groups of patients with ME/CFS. Recommendations are based on expert clinical opinion and the standard clinical approach to symptom management.[15] Sleep disruption and pain are the symptoms usually addressed first, and consultation with sleep or pain management specialists might be helpful. Nonpharmacologic approaches might include Epsom salt soaks, massage, acupuncture, and, most importantly, activity management. Patients should be encouraged to stay active but not too active. They need to start with very low levels of activity and escalate the levels slowly. Brief intervals of activity should be followed by adequate rest to avoid triggering relapse or flare of symptoms, a manifestation of postexertional malaise. Finally, living with a chronic illness is extremely challenging, so attention should be given to addressing depression, anxiety, and improving coping skills.