Currently, while there might not be a proven pharmaceutical cure for M.E./CFS yet, there are a number of treatment approaches that some find help them manage the condition, including medication for individual symptoms.
Because of the complexity of the illness, its fluctuating nature and the wide spectrum of symptoms, different things work for different people. Some, particularly those who are more severely affected, find the therapies currently available to be of little benefit.
Action for M.E. does not recommend any individual treatments or management approaches. Instead, we offer key information to allow people with M.E. to make informed decisions about what is right for them.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says it expects healthcare professionals “to take our guidance into account, but people also have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care.” You can read more about this on the NICE website.
Surveys by Action for M.E. and other M.E. charities have consistently shown that the majority of people with M.E. find that pacing (ie. managing physical, mental and emotional activity and rest) helps them to manage their illness.
The British Association for CFS/M.E. (BACME) also publishes a therapy and symptom management guide. This practical clinical treatment summary incorporates existing tools and methodologies from specialists who work with adults and children who have M.E., and offers a consensus approach to broader treatment based on clinician expertise, patient experience and the best available evidence. It's free to download at BACME's website.
At the time of writing, there is considerable global debate among professionals about the effectiveness of behavioural versus biomedical approaches for treating and managing M.E. The US, the Netherlands, and Denmark have now shifted entirely to biomedical management of M.E., while other countries (including the UK) have not.
There is much debate and discussion about CBT and GET – and the published evidence for them – about whether or not they work, and whether they might cause harm.
A significant number of patients, scientists and charities, including Action for M.E., do not support the NICE guideline’s view that CBT and GET “are the interventions for which there is the clearest research evidence of benefit” for people with mild to moderate M.E., given legitimate questions being raised about safety and effectiveness.
Both the NICE guideline for M.E. and SGSP stress that the following should not be offered to people with M.E.:
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