The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, and according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Many people with CFS appear particularly sensitive to drugs, especially those that affect the central nervous system. For this reason, your doctor may begin with very low doses. The dose will be gradually increased as necessary.
The complex symptoms in CFS may require the use of different types of medication. Medication may also be given for anxiety and depression, pain control, and sleep disturbance.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe low-dose tricyclic agents to help improve your sleep and relieve mild, generalized pain. Improvement is usually seen in two to six weeks after beginning treatment.
Possible side effects include:
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart rate
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat the depression that may accompany CFS. They may also be beneficial for CFS even if you are not depressed. Improvement may be seen in four to six weeks after beginning treatment.
***Please note FDA Public Health Advisory for Antidepressants:
The FDA advises that people taking antidepressants should be closely observed. For some, the medications have been linked to worsening symptoms and suicidal thoughts. These adverse effects are most common in young adults. The effects tend to occur at the beginning of treatment or when there is an increase or decrease in the dose.
Although the warning is for all antidepressants, of most concern are the SSRI class such as:
Benzodiazepines are used to reduce anxiety and panic that may accompany CFS. They may also be used to promote sleep. Benzodiazepines are fast acting but can be habit-forming when used long-term or in excess. In such cases, withdrawal must be accomplished slowly, over a period of weeks or months.
Acetaminophen may be used to relieve pain from headache, joint pains, or muscle pain. To avoid stomach upset, this medication should be taken with food. Acetaminophen is generally safe when taken as recommended.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to relieve pain and fever associated with CFS. These medicines should be taken with food to prevent stomach upset. They are generally safe when taken as recommended.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a