Medicines do not cure
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): they only help relieve
symptoms. They may not greatly speed up your return to full activity. But when
medicines are used properly, they can help you feel better.
Over-the-counter medicines include:
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs:
Over-the-counter drugs, including acetaminophen (for
example, Tylenol), ibuprofen (for example, Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (for example, Aleve), are used to treat frequent or severe joint and
muscle pain, headaches, and fevers. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Prescription medicines include:
Antidepressants are prescribed by a doctor to ease depression and anxiety,
improve your ability to concentrate, help you sleep better, and decrease
fatigue and muscle pain.
Codeine, morphine, and meperidine (Demerol): These drugs are prescribed by a doctor for pain
that is not relieved by over-the-counter drugs. They generally are reserved for
the most severe cases. Because of the risk of addiction, they are used only on
a short-term basis.
What to think about
Some research has studied the
corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone and
fludrocortisone) to treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Studies have shown
that these medicines do not work very well to treat CFS. And the side effects
can be serious. Unless corticosteroids can be shown to have a greater benefit
for people with CFS over a longer period of time, the side effects associated
with long-term corticosteroid therapy outweigh the benefits from their use in
Depression often becomes a part of
chronic fatigue syndrome and can make your symptoms worse. Like any medical
illness, depression needs to be treated. If you have CFS and are depressed,
tell your doctor how you feel. Antidepressants and counseling can help you
keep a good attitude, which has been shown to be a great benefit to people
who have CFS.