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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a complex, often difficult to diagnose illness that may affect as many as 2.5 million Americans. Many who suffer with this illness go years or even their entire lifetimes without ever being diagnosed, while experiencing many difficulties associated with the illness on a daily basis. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome can affect anyone of any age but those who are over 40 years of age and under 60 are the largest demographic.

Those with chronic fatigue syndrome are impacted daily by the illness. Chronic fatigue syndrome may cause irrepressible exhaustion, post-exertional malaise (PEM), difficulties with sleep and cognition, as well as dizziness, and pain. Simple tasks such as taking a shower, driving, tying shoelaces, making food, etc. can seem monumental as their exhaustion may be so pervasive.

Partial List of Symptoms That May Indicate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Sleep Problems
  • Memory and Cognition Problems
  • Significantly Lowered Ability to Perform Activities
  • Worsening of Symptoms During or After Physical or Mental Activity
  • Joint Pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Pain and/or Aches
  • Recurrent Sore Throat
  • Tender or Sensitive Lymph Nodes
  • Chills
  • Night Sweats
  • Allergies
  • Sensitivities to Foods, Chemicals, Noise, or Odors
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Other Digestive Problems

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to eradicate the myriad of painful, nagging, and overwhelming symptoms that are brought on by chronic fatigue syndrome, but there are options for improving or alleviating symptoms. Let's consider a few.

For ME/CFS-Related Pain and/or Fever:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin may bring relief to some sufferers.

For ME/CFS-Related Anxiety:

Anti-anxiety medications such as alprazolam and lorazepam may provide relief.

For ME/CFS-Related Allergies:

Antihistamines like fexofenadine and cetirizine, as well as decongestants containing pseudoephedrine may be helpful.

For ME/CFS-Related Hypotension:
Fludrocortisone and midodrine are sometimes given to combat hypotension.

For ME/CFS-Related Sleep Difficulties & Pain:

Some tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline or SSRIs such as fluoxetine, sertraline, and others are sometimes prescribed.

For ME/CFS-Related Dizziness:
Clonazepam is sometimes used to treat dizziness.

Lifestyle & Exercise

Chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers are advised to talk with their doctors about their current lifestyle, and exercise routine. Physical and psychological stress may need to be addressed, and an exercise program that starts slow and gradually builds may help to improve or diminish some symptoms. Never begin an exercise program without first consulting with your doctor.

Compounding For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

As with most other illnesses and diseases, compounding pharmacists can play an important role in doctor-directed treatment by providing quality medications tailored specifically to a patient's needs. Compounded medications can be crafted at optimum dosages, combined for ease of use, and made free of dyes and sugars. Talk to your compounding pharmacist about your medication options.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that chronic fatigue syndrome, though difficult, is manageable with the proper care and treatment, lifestyle adjustments, and exercise. Talk to your doctor about all your options.

  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA