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Exercise may help patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Increasing activity and physical exercise may help ease the symptoms of fatigue in some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), improving their quality of life and ability to function, according to a new evidence report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The researchers did not find, however, that one type of exercise was better than another.

The researchers also found either insufficient or inconclusive evidence to draw any conclusions about other treatments for the condition. Patients with CFS are sometimes treated with immune therapy, corticosteroids, antidepressants and other pharmacological agents or supplements, and complementary therapies.

The report was prepared for AHRQ by the San Antonio Evidence-based Practice Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Veterans Evidence-based Research, Dissemination, and Implementation Center (VERDICT), a Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence. The topic was nominated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A summary of Evidence Report Number 42, Defining and Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (AHRQ Publication No. 01-E061), is available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Copies of the full report will be available from AHRQ in early 2002. Select to access the summary online, or select NGC Resources from the National Guideline Clearinghouse™.

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