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Br J Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;192(3):217-23. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.106.031815.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy v. mirtazapine for chronic fatigue and neurasthenia: randomised placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Division of Psychiatry, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5021 Bergen, Norway. bjarte.stubhaug@helse-bergen.no

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Single interventions in chronic fatigue syndrome have shown only limited effectiveness, with few studies of comprehensive treatment programmes.

AIMS:

To examine the effect of a comprehensive cognitive-behavioural treatment (CCBT) programme compared with placebo-controlled mirtazapine medication in patients with chronic fatigue, and to study the effect of combined medication and CCBT.

METHOD:

A three-armed randomised clinical trial of mirtazapine, placebo and a CCBT programme was conducted to investigate treatment effect in a patient group (n=72) with chronic fatigue referred to a specialist clinic. The CCBT programme was compared with mirtazapine or placebo therapy for 12 weeks, followed by 12 weeks treatment with a mixed crossover-combination design. Assessments were done at 12 weeks and 24 weeks.

RESULTS:

By 12 weeks the treatment effect was significantly better in the group initially receiving CCBT, as assessed with the Fatigue Scale (P=0.014) and the Clinical Global Impression Scale (P=0.001). By 24 weeks the treatment group initially receiving CCBT for 12 weeks followed by mirtazapine for 12 weeks showed significant improvement compared with the other treatment groups on the Fatigue Scale (P<0.001) and the Clinical Global Impression Scale (P=0.002). Secondary outcome measures showed overall improvement with no significant difference between treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Multimodal interventions may have positive treatment effects in chronic fatigue syndrome. Sequence of interventions seem to be of importance.

PMID:
18310583
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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