Woman with head down" Progress in the understanding of CFS/ME, its nature and management, has increased wonderfully over the past 10 years as more and more countries, researchers, and clinicians have become involved. There is much reason for hope."


— Alan Gurwitt, M.D.

Retired clinician

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How is ME/CFS treated?

Since there is no known cause or cure, treatment is targeted to relieve specific symptoms, such as pain and sleep disorder. Experienced ME/CFS clinicians are treating patients with both conventional and alternative approaches. Experimental treatments are being evaluated in clinical trials. Patients need to assess their treatment options carefully for safety and effectiveness. (See our detailed Treatment section.)

Because some patients can show lower tolerance or hypersensitivity to medications, treatment should be started at low doses with gradual increases as appropriate. Since anesthesia can also trigger hypersensitive reactions, caution must be exercised when an ME/CFS patient undergoes a procedure using anesthesia. (See the suggestions of Dr. Charles Lapp concerning the use of anesthesia.)

Important lifestyle changes include: increased rest, decreased and carefully paced activity ("living in your energy envelope"), exercise only as tolerated, stress control, balanced nutrition, improved sleep, and identifying effective coping strategies.

Patient and family support groups, as well as counseling, can be very helpful. It is vital to find a physician who understands ME/CFS, and is willing to develop an individualized treatment program.