Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) consists of a range of symptoms including fatigue,
headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulties with concentration and muscle pain. The defining
characteristic has been reported to be debilitating fatigue. It is not known what causes CFS
although various hypotheses have been suggested, including immunological, viral,
psychological and neuroendocrine factors. The uncertainty regarding the cause is reflected in
the wide variety of interventions which have been used in the treatment and management of
CFS. These interventions have had different objectives including targeting of the underlying
disease process, targeting of specific symptoms, focusing on coping strategies, and
encouraging rehabilitation. Evaluations of the effectiveness of different approaches suggest a
variety of different outcomes and currently a number of interventions are used in the
management of CFS.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) has sometimes been reported to be a separate syndrome
from CFS. However in the research literature CFS is commonly referred to as being the
same illness as ME, post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) and all similar symptom complexes.
The scope of this review was to evaluate interventions for the management of CFS/ME.
Therefore, unless specifically named symptom complexes were addressed, CFS/ME is the
term used throughout this review.
To assess the effectiveness of all available interventions which have been evaluated for use
in the treatment or management of adults and children with CFS/ME.
|NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
© 2002 NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York. Available from the CRD web site. Updated in Centre for Reviews and Dissemination Report 35 http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4902/.