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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research

Experimental Treatments

There are a number of possible chronic fatigue syndrome treatments that are currently being or have been studied. Some of these experimental treatments include:
 
  • Ampligen®
  • Gamma globulin
  • Corticosteroids
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • High colonic enema
  • Kutapressin
  • Neurosurgery.
     
Ampligen
Studies have shown that chronic fatigue syndrome patients who used Ampligen had modest improvements in cognition and performance. However, these preliminary results will need to be confirmed by further study. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve Ampligen for widespread use, and the administration of this drug in chronic fatigue syndrome patients should be considered experimental.
 
Ampligen is not widely available, is costly, and is generally not reimbursable through insurance programs. Although most recipients of Ampligen tolerated the drug well, adverse reactions, such as liver damage, were reported.
 
Gamma Globulin
Studies have shown that gamma globulin is not effective in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Serious adverse reactions to gamma globulin are uncommon, although in rare cases gamma globulin may initiate anaphylactic shock.
 
Corticosteroids
Controlled studies of corticosteroids have been conducted because some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome had a slight decrease in urinary cortisol levels. Although some patients benefited from treatment with low dose hydrocortisone, the effects disappeared after one month.
 
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
In preliminary studies, DHEA was reported to improve symptoms in some patients. However, in subsequent studies, this finding has not been confirmed; the use of DHEA in patients should be regarded as experimental.
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