, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 381-389
Date: 15 Jan 2011

Health-related quality of life in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: group cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise versus usual treatment. A randomised controlled trial with 1 year of follow-up

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Abstract

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) produces physical and neurocognitive disability that significantly affects health-related quality of life (HRQL). Multidisciplinary treatment combining graded exercise therapy (GET) cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatment has shown only short-term improvements. To compare the effects on HRQL of (1) multidisciplinary treatment combining CBT, GET, and pharmacological treatment, and (2) usual treatment (exercise counselling and pharmacological treatment) at 12 months of follow-up. Prospective, randomized controlled trial with a follow-up of 12 months after the end of treatment. Patients consecutively diagnosed with CFS (Fukuda criteria) were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 60) or usual treatment (n = 60) groups. HRQL was assessed at baseline and 12 months by the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form questionnaire (SF-36). Secondary outcomes included functional capacity for activities of daily living measured by the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and comorbidities. At baseline, the two groups were similar, except for lower SF-36 emotional role scores in the intervention group. At 12 months, the intervention did not improve HRQL scores, with worse SF-36 physical function and bodily pain scores in the intervention group. Multidisciplinary treatment was not superior to usual treatment at 12 months in terms of HRQL. The possible benefits of GET as part of multidisciplinary treatment for CFS should be assessed on an individual patient basis.