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Long-term methylphenidate intake in chronic fatigue syndrome

me/cfs 27931

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Didn't see this one posted yet. Looks like about 2/3 of the patients stopped taking methylphenidate (Ritalin) in the decade before the questionnaire.

Their conclusion: "The long-term intake of methylphenidate by CFS patients with concentration difficulties has a positive effect in about one out of three patients."

Another possibility is that one out of three patients selected have "chronic fatigue" but not ME/CFS. Not clear what "CFS" criteria were used.

It would be nice if the abstract also mentioned harms to patients, but it doesn't.

Anecdotally, while Ritalin XR provided some short term benefit and allowed me to work for 6 months, it subsequently left me housebound for a couple years.

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Acta Clin Belg. 2016 Jun 27:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
Long-term methylphenidate intake in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Blockmans D1, Persoons P2.

Abstract
OBJECTIVE:

Concentration disturbances are frequent in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In a placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study, methylphenidate over 4 weeks was superior to placebo in the relief of fatigue and concentration disturbance. This observational study describes the effect of long-term methylphenidate intake on fatigue, concentration, and daily life activities, as reported by the patients themselves.

METHODS:
A questionnaire was sent to all CFS patients who were prescribed methylphenidate at the general internal medicine department of a university hospital between August 2004 and February 2007, for possible improvement of concentration difficulties and fatigue.

RESULTS:
Out of 194 consecutive patients, 149 (76.8%) sent the questionnaire back. At the time of the questionnaire, 65.3% had stopped the intake of methylphenidate, 34.7% still took it daily or occasionally. Among the patients who continued methylphenidate, 48% reported an at least 50% improvement of fatigue, and 62% reported an at least 50% improvement of concentration difficulties. This continued intake of methylphenidate resulted in more working hours in these patients. Side effects (agitation, palpitations, and dry mouth) were reported significantly more in patients who had stopped methylphenidate than in those who still took it.

CONCLUSION:
The long-term intake of methylphenidate by CFS patients with concentration difficulties has a positive effect in about one out of three patients.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27351244
http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29126