Pharmaceuticals For Energy

Central Nervous System Stimulants –   Most of the pharmaceuticals used to increase energy in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that are either amphetamines or are amphetamine-like in structure. Amphetamines have been used in the past to elevate mood, reduce feelings of fatigue and increase alertness, concentration and motivation.

Stimulants increase blood pressure and the heart rate and constrict the blood vessels and increase blood glucose levels. Many are similar in chemical structure to the neurohormone norepinephrine, which some studies suggest may be raised in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

In the past amphetamines were used to treat many disorders including asthma and other respiratory diseases, obesity, neurological disorders, etc. but their potential for abuse and addiction has restricted their use to just a few conditions such as attention deficit disorder. When taken in the prescribed doses the risk of addiction is reportedly very low.

Central Nervous System Stimulants May Be Helpful in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)  because they increase alertness, concentration, motivation and energy and can assist with circulatory problems.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Physicians Report - Dr. Lapp and Dr.Teitelbaum appear to have had considerable success with these drugs. Dr.Teitelbaum states stimulants ‘can be very helpful for many people with CFIDS’. He believes that Dexedrine and Ritalin are underused in ME/CFS. Stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dexamphetamine (Dexedrine or Adderall), and modafinil (Provigil) are Dr. Lapp’s first choice in this area.

Dr. Bateman has had more success using central nervous system stimulating drugs with FM-type patients than with patients with more pure ME/CFS. She says “The more pure CFS you have, the less you can fix it with a stimulant” and she raises the problem of sensitivities to drugs.

Dr. Pocinki notes “For patients who are complaining of fatigue or cognitive dysfunction, stimulants like Provigil, Ritalin or Adderall may be prescribed to boost energy and improve focus and concentration… However, you can’t prescribe stimulants without keeping a careful eye on how they impact other aspects of the illness. They can make rest and sleep more difficult, or worse, they can precipitate the dreaded push-crash cycle.”

Dr. Cheney does not use stimulants. He believes that while SSRI’s and stimulants may be beneficial in the short term that in the long term they can ‘fry your brain’.

Central Nervous System Stimulants in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Click on  each to get more information about their uses in ME/CFS.

5 comments

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise Golds August 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Why are these medications not available in the uk?? I struggle to stay awake for more than an a few hours a day without feeling overwhelmed with the urgent need to sleep ? This constant state of extreme tiredness not only has effected my ability to live a normal life but has affected my ability to be a normal mother.
Any advice would be greatly received.

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Jaime S August 9, 2014 at 6:59 am

Louise, I feel your pain… I am in a similar situation with my CFS. I work 6 hours a day and outside of that, I am so exhausted that it is debilitating. I have tried Vitamin D, Vitamin B, iron, multivitamins, etc. with no success. Many people in my area suggest a link between gluten/carb/sugar intake and this exhaustion. I am a true carb addict but I am going to try eliminating carbs for 30 days to see if that helps. Maybe you could try the same.
Good luck!
Jaime

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Louise Golds August 13, 2014 at 5:54 am

Hi Jamie,

You are lucky as you are able to at least get yourself dressed and your able to organise your self to actually leave the house on time and to maintain keeping a job.
With regards to your sleepiness, have you thought about doing a food and drink intake diary for a week along with that a diary of your daily activities and note down when you feel the most tired in the day. Do both of these and after a week you can hopefully see by looking at both the food you’ve eaten and the scale of tiredness and times of these, may show a food reaction. I think it is always a good idea to detox your body of all carbs and red meat, and not to eat anything that contains wheat. No coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, alcohol For 30 days.
Give it a go and see if it helps you!
Good luck and let me no how you got on!

Louise x

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Sharon C. October 30, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I’ve taken 2.5 mg of generic Ritalin, 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet, every morning on an empty stomach for the past five years. Recently my pharmacy went to Sandoz for the generic and I knew immediately because I went back to crashing in the middle of the day. They ordered it from Core and promise to fill my Rx from that company in the future. I had a couple of old tabs so was able to insert a couple here and there to keep me going until I could pick up the script and get it filled. I know generics are supposed to be equal to brand name but not for me, not this time.

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Tammy Evans November 11, 2014 at 4:22 am

I’ve had CFS since I can remember . I had mono 3 x & my liver & spleen were very enlarged. Since then my EbsteinBarr level has been off the charts. I hid my symptoms for years despite having kidney problems as well. It was after a MVA (w traumatic head injury & fx C3-7; I was in a coma & expected to die. But it wasn’t my time. Rehab was horrible & painful & due to the severity of my head injuries, I wasn’t given any pain meds but I did have a great Neuro psychologist. I continued to smile & function as best I could as I was divorced & have no parents or siblings. My past Neuro was evaluating me for MS or other neuromuscular disorders & had me try Adderall. I was reluctant but admit I functioned for another 6 years with no signs. Then I began to deteriorate & didn’t correlate it but my Neuro had a fatal accident & I had to go without Adderall. I crashed badly & ended up leaving my job as a hospitalist & in ICU for months. Luckily I have great friends that took care of me after. I just reviewed my journals earlier today & realized my major deteriorations occurred when off of Adderall . My PCP has placed me on a low dose Ritalin (generic) which is extremely hard to obtain in FL. It was my fiancé that noticed the changes as I was told not to complain as a child. I feel for everyone as Im suffering as well. Id risk everything to had a good day again as I can’t recall one. Now I have a few hours only. The worst is seeing my fiancé face when I’m really bad & he’s going to hire someone to stay with me while he’s at work. It’s so unfair that I save my meds to spend a little time w him then I fade away. I would risk everything for a possible treatment even if it only gives me a few good days again. God bless you all.

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