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 ME/CFS.

In the past, amphetamines were used to treat many disorders including asthma and other respiratory diseases, obesity and neurological disorders, 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 ME/CFS because they increase alertness, concentration, motivation and energy and can assist with circulatory problems.

The experience of ME/CFS physicians

Dr. Lapp and Dr.Teitelbaum appear to have had considerable success with these drugs. Dr.Teitelbaum states that 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 purer 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 SSRIs and stimulants may be beneficial in the short term, in the long term they can ‘fry your brain’.

The links below provide more information about the use of specific stimulants in ME/CFS.

11 comments
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.

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

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

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.

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.

leigh falshaw November 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

PLease help me, ive had CFS for over 7yrs, i struggle single with 2 small boys. I

leigh falshaw November 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Please help me, where do i go to get some adderol. Ive suffered CFS for 7 years with 2 small boys, I crawl on all fours to get them to school. Im a recluse, cant leave the home. Its the worst illnes i could ever of wished for.

I live in England and cant get any. I desperately need to find a safe site to purchase some, so i can start to improve my quality of life. Ive felt suicidal at times when every weekend both boys have been locked in my house for all these years cos i wouldnt have the energy to walk them to the corner shop. Please help im a desperate single mother xxx

Kade January 9, 2015 at 4:58 pm

I have had ME for too many years now – with a few brief times of feeling well
But since moving location 4 yrs ago my ME & the desperation of the fatigue I feel daily seems to be getting worse. I too am a mother & the guilt I feel for being ill is overwhelming too. I can identify with all your comments & have tried for years to get my Dr to prescribe a stimulant – just for a short time to get out of this rut of sleeping, feeling useless & just functioning – but with no success. I’ve tried gluten free diet which did help but it was yeast, sugar, alcohol & dairy free & I just didn’t have the strength to stick to it.
I know that awful feeling when I see my husbands face when I can’t do something. It really is hell for everyone around me. I live in uk & managed to find 10 dexamphetamine & the difference I felt was incredible. Within 20 mins I could get up & felt alive! I’m looking to find some for sale – so if anyone has had any luck in the uk buying dexedrine or any similar or a Dr to prescribe them, please please can you email me? Leigh I really feel for you & can only imagine how awful it must be alone & with two kids. Pls feel free to email me if you’d like to chat to someone. Same with everyone on this subject. Kade

CINDY1212 March 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm

HI All,

I too, suffer from the fatigue that literally steals your life and leaves you feeling guilty for not being able to keep up or even get through the day. It is a horrible fate, and like many of you, I have looked at every possible cause with no success.

After a result of “idiopathic hypersomnia” from a sleep lab, my doctor prescribed me stimulants. I have been on Provigal, Vyvanse, Concerta and Adderall. Yes, these stimulants worked, but it was short lived as I gained tolerance. Not long after starting, my doses would need to be increased and then I was left with a racing mind and an exhausted body.

I just want to encourage everyone to keep searching, as I am, for natural remedies. The stimulants will not last, and will give you hope that will come crashing down at some point. I wish I had the answers, and maybe everyone does not become immune, but I was taking 25 mg Adderall, drinking several cups of coffee and then taking another 10 mg in the afternoon. And, if the opportunity to nap presented itself, I would almost never be able to fall asleep despite feeling incredibly fatigued. The stimulants created for me a no-win situation, and then I had to wean myself off of them.

Every day I pray for a solution… I pray just to be able to function normally, be the mom my kids deserve, the employee my company deserves. One day, maybe, this heaviness will lift. I want the same for each and every one of you. XO

kschell89 June 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

I took Ritalin and it made me worse bc it made me so hyper I couldn’t take my afternoon nap. No nap means I didn’t just feel more tired but sick.too. bad bad bad

arnie June 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I had abused cocaine for 4 years-5 years…Daily. I usually would sleep for 4 days+/-..
After stopping, I have been sleeping 18-22 hrs. per Day ! When I did awake, I was depressed, no interest.Very depressed.
I take ritalin, adderall regularly. Problem is… aI compulsively chase the ‘energy rush’….I have taken 400 mgs. of ritalin in a day. ie. used a 30 day supply in 1 week…I wasa thinking of Pro/nuvuigil…seems to weak to hwelp/.
The anti-depressants don’t help..Cymbalta. Wellbutrin…Only the ‘stimulants work..I get work done. Chores, etc.
I feel that My Life is ruined…It’s been almost a Year…If I run out…I sleep 18-22 hours again.
Does this ever get better?.ANY THOUGHTS…?
..Harsh judgements need not apply.
Thanks..
Arnie

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