There is no standard drug for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (I use the terms interchangeably on this page) at the time of writing.
Anti depressants can help some with pain relief. You will see later that they didn't help me!
Some other medicines have been shown in studies to be helpful although they are not widely available at the time of writing.
In this article I share some of the research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and drugs.
Research into a Drug for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. August 2017
Jonathan Edwards, a rheumatologist, and professor of connective tissue medicine at University College London found that patients with ME/CFS as well as rheumatoid arthritis reported a great reduction in CFS symptoms when they were treated with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs for their arthritis.
A trial of the drugs on the larger population of people with Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome was under way as at August 2017. If the results are in and someone has them, I would be grateful if you contact me or post them in the healing forum.
Doctors treated someone for cancer with Rituximab. This person happened to also have CFS/ME, their symptoms and on the drug, their symptoms disappeared. This led to a hopeful trial. But a further trial or trials?? were not successful.
I am leaving this item here, but my understanding is that research has now been discontinued. I believe the results were not replicated and that some patients with ME/CFS became more ill with the drug treatment.
"Rituximab works by destroying a protein found on the surface of white blood cells that make antibodies, called B cells.
The scientists said the findings suggested that: 'CFS/ME, which is often preceded by an infection, may be a form of autoimmune disease in which B-cells are important'."
Theory for CFS cause: "An infection triggers the body to produce antibodies that then turn against a person's own tissues, perhaps stopping blood from circulating properly". (New Scientist Mag 4 July 2015) This prevents people getting sufficient oxygen and CFS symptoms result.
Who: Dr Oystein Fluge and Dr Olav Mella in 2004
What happened: They treated a patient for lymphoma who also had CFS. After a few months, the CFS symptoms had disappeared.
2011, one year trial, two-thirds of those taking rituximab had reduced CFS symptoms compared with none of the control group.
Follow up, reported July 2015
Trial of Rituximab involving 29 people with CFS. 11 of 18 people withChronic Fatigue Syndrome were in remission 3 years afterthe start of treatment. Typically, it took 4 to 6 months to see reduced symptoms.
Reference. PLoS One, DOI:10.1371/Journal.pone.012898
A new research study on 150 people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is already ongoing at July 2015. (Katherine - I think this is the one that showed the drug to be unsuccessful.)
Low-dose naltrexone may offer help for the millions of people worldwide with central nervous system disorders or autoimmune disorder.
"in people with diseases that are partially or largely triggered by a deficiency of endorphins (including auto immune disorders) ... Restoration of the body's normal production of endorphins is the major therapeutic action of LDN."
See the complete article on
Here you can download an article to take to your Doctor to ask them to consider prescribing you with LDN to treat CFS.
A friend was prescribed LDN for cancer and her M.E. / CFS symptoms cleared significantly as a result.
Many years after writing this, I continue to hear of people with Myalgic Encephelomyelitis who are helped by LDN. I believe there is a facebook group.
Research into a Drug for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. 25 Jan 2013
I have had more muscle fatigue and pain in my arms and hands this last year and asked my Doctor for help for pain relief.
He referred to research and said that Amitriptaline has been found to give pain relief in those with the illnesses MS, Parkinsons and CFS.
I was wary of taking a drug as I still have some Mulitple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and he was very easy going, said I could stop whenever I wanted to.
Amitriptaline is an anti-depressant. For my body weight if I was taking it as an anti-depressant I would take 150g. For pain relief it is prescribed at 10mg, so a much lower dose.
It knocked me out and for the first time I understood the idea of someone WANTING to be in bed and rest. I thought this might be good for me, but I didn't feel like my usual LIVE self. I cut the dose in half to 5mg and persevered for a while.
There was some pain relief, but it was inconclusive as I was so tired that I typed less. The ME/CFS pain comes with repetitive movement, so the pain relief could have been down to less use of my arms and hands.
However, I did SLEEP unusually well which I feel sure must have done me some good.
I stopped after a while as I prefer to be more alert and alive. But interestingly, I often sleep longer and better now. It seems the amitriptaline has reminded my body how to sleep.
My conclusion is
that amitriptaline is worth considering for pain relief, but personally I will not be trying it again.
PLEASE please make
your own decision. I have a friend who deeply regrets the years he
spent trying different drugs for ME with horrible side-effects. I can
well imagine how unpleasant it would have been if I had been given the
dose for depression.
Always remember, it is YOUR body and YOUR decision.
With Love, Katherine
Possible further information: Copy and paste this link for research findings into amitriptaline and its possible relevance to CFS.
Move from Research into a Drug for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis to see a full list of articles on this website on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research. Biological features fround in those with ME/CFS point the way to possible future treatments.