Stimulants are sometimes used to treat orthostatic intolerance in chronic fatigue syndrome because of their ability to increase blood flows. Stimulants do this by increasing blood pressure, the heart rate, and constricting the blood vessels. Many are similar in chemical structure to the neurohormone norepinephrine, which plays a key role in constricting the blood vessels when we stand.
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.
Stimulants May Work in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because…
they narrow the blood vessels which can reduce blood pooling in the lower body (through overly dilated blood vessels) and thus increase blood flows to the heart and brain. These drugs can also provide benefits through their effects on the central nervous system.
These drugs usually take effect after 30-45 minutes and last for 4-5 hours. If they work they result in reduced fatigue, improved concentration and endurance. Click on drugs below for more information.
(This and all sections of the Phoenix Rising website are compiled by a layman with ME/CFS. They are not a substitute for a physician and are for informational uses only. Please discuss any treatments in these pages with your physician.)