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Monitoring the Use of All Medicines and Supplements

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medicines

There are many over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can be used to treat sleep difficulties, cognitive problems, pain, and other symptoms of CFS.

Many CFS patients are sensitive to medications, particularly sedating medications. Therapeutic benefits can often be achieved at lower-than-standard dosages, so doctors should try prescribing a fraction of the usual recommended dose to start and gradually increase as necessary and as tolerated. All medications can cause side effects, which may lead to new symptoms or worsen existing symptoms, so it is important to routinely monitor all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements.

Some drugs act on multiple body systems and symptoms. For instance, tricyclic antidepressants may not only improve mood, but may help with sleep and pain. Prescribing such drugs allows the use of fewer medications to address multiple symptoms with minimal side effects.

Nutritional and Herbal Supplements

Vitamins and other nutritional and herbal supplements are frequently used by people with CFS. There have been few clinical trials on nutritional supplements and vitamins, these products are unregulated, and information on potency and side effects is frequently unknown. However, many CFS patients report symptom relief with use. Therefore, health care professional and patients need to talk about nutritional and herbal supplements to determine safety, effectiveness, and possible negative interactions with prescribed medications and therapies.

Nutritional supplements can't take the place of good diet and nutrition, so a well-balanced diet is encouraged. CFS patients should avoid taking certain supplements because they are dangerous. Some people with CFS report sensitivities to various foods or chemicals, and these items should be avoided. If they are sensitive, they should avoid these potentially troublesome products.

Patients should talk with their doctors about all potential therapies because many supposed cures and treatments for CFS that are promoted on the Internet are unproven and could be dangerous.


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