Updated clinical guidance for myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), produced by the US ME/CFS Clinician Coalition, may also help patients who remain ill with Long COVID after even mild cases of COVID-19. An article about the update has been published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings:
Recent research suggests 10 percent or more of adults with acute COVID-19 may go on to develop ME/CFS. Patients with ME/CFS have long struggled to access clinical care as a result of a lack of accurate clinical guidance and provider knowledge. The significant influx of new ME/CFS cases has created an urgent need for clinicians everywhere to learn about this disease.
The updated clinical guidance from the US ME/CFS Clinician Coalition focuses on adults and includes:
- New diagnostic criteria requiring post-exertional malaise and other key features to improve diagnostic accuracy
- Efficient use of interview questions, physical examination findings, and diagnostic testing
- Alternative diagnoses and co-existing conditions to consider
- Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments
- A discussion of why previously-recommended treatments — cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy — can be harmful and are no longer recommended
There are no FDA-approved treatments for ME/CFS. However, authors of the article state that, in their experience, improvement is possible with appropriate care, and provide their consensus recommendations with a variety of available treatments.
Author Dr. Lucinda Bateman notes:
“There are many steps clinicians can take now to improve the health, function, and quality of life of people with ME/CFS, including those newly ill with ME/CFS following COVID-19. This guidance may also help Long COVID patients, even if they do not fully meet criteria for ME/CFS.”
Watch the accompanying video by Dr. Lucinda Bateman:
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