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Review: behavioural interventions show the most promise for chronic fatigue syndrome

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QUESTION: In patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), what is the effectiveness of evaluated interventions?

Data sources

Published and unpublished studies in any language were identified by searching 19 databases, including Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, PsycLIT, ERIC, Current Contents, and the Cochrane Library (to 2000); the internet was searched using a meta-search engine; references of retrieved articles were scanned; and individuals and organisations were contacted through a website dedicated to this review and through members of 2 advisory panels.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or controlled clinical trials of any intervention used in the treatment or management of CFS in adults or children. Studies in which diagnoses were based on another syndrome with criteria similar to CFS, such as myalgic …

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  • Sources of funding: UK Policy Research Programme, Department of Health; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Veterans Evidence-Based Research, Dissemination, and Implementation Center.

  • For correspondence: Ms P Whiting, National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York, UK. pfw2{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health and ACP Journal Club.