ME Association comment on today’s Dutch study on web-based therapy for youngsters with CFS, 1 March 2012

Dr Charles Shepherd, honorary medical adviser to the ME Association, says:

“I find it hard to believe that an internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) programme can produce a 63% recovery rate over a six month period – even if those involved were very carefully selected.

The success rate is far in excess of any other published clinical trial involving the use of any form of CBT in ME/CFS and is not consistent with the results from several large patient surveys carried out in the UK, the largest of which* found that only 2.8% were ‘greatly improved’ whereas 54.6% reported ‘no change’ in their condition. (19.5% reported being ‘slightly worse’ or ‘much worse’ – total number = 997).

It should also be noted that a wide variety of clinical presentations and pathologies come under the ME/CFS umbrella and that while CBT may be of help to some people with this diagnosis it is not an appropriate or effective form of treatment for others”.

Our survey on Management Approaches to ME/CFS, the largest-ever survey of views of people with the illness and their carers, can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant button in the Quick Links section to the right of this story.

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