Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
Do stimulants work for treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome?
Posted in Chronic Fatigue... by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Aug 11, 2010
"I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I already take celebrex, cymbalta and zoloft but I couldn't stop sleeping so my doctor gave me strattera. It is an ADHD medicine. Why would it be good for chronic fatigue?"

The ADHD medications have been studied for use in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). For obvious reasons the stimulant ADHD medications were considered for the treatment of CFS and Methylphenidate (Ritalin) was the first to be tested. Methylphenidate, compared to placebo, did have a clinically significant effect on fatigue in 17% of CFS patients tested on 10 mg twice a day in a 2006 study of 60 CFS patients.

Modafinil (Provigil) is a stimulant medication used for ADHD also shown to improve fatigue related to narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder. Some practitioners will use it for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome based on those results.

Strattera is used for the treatment of ADHD but is not a stimulant. Strattera works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine. While it has not been studied for use in chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia your physician may be using it for your CFS based on the improved focus it brings to those with ADHD. Interestingly, you are on Cymbalta which is also a serotonin/norepinephrine inhibitor so watch closely for hot flashes and elevated blood pressure that both of those can cause.

For others with CFS have the stimulant ADHD medications worked for you?

Dr O.

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CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: ADHD / ADD  •  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  •  Narcolepsy  •  Parents of Children with ADHD  •  Sleep Apnea  •  Sleep Problems - Childhood

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I was recently diagnosed with Narcolepsy. I tried Nuvigil (7 weeks) and had awful headaches and upset stomach; however, I was more alert for the day and didn't have to take naps.

I've been taking Provigil for three weeks and it's amazing how much better I already feel and how much more energy. I feel like I have my life back treating narcolepsy.

Although taking Provigil I am wide awake all night and force myself to at least lay down and rest.
By miclachapelle  Oct 21, 2010
I was disappointed with provigil (considering $11.00/day price tag). I even doubled dose to 400mg and noticed nothing.
I am on 60 adderall now and make it thru the day. I am taking for mental fatigue to prevent my eyes crossing and closing, ears ringing, and brain shutting down at 1:00pm. Only side effect is If i have 8cups of coffee in 8 hours+ the adderall i will get a headache. No problems with sleep, no euphoria neither (not that i know what euphoria is but i read where others feel GREAT when abused.
By familytime  Oct 10, 2010
I have tried Provigil but it increased my migraines to much but I do take Adderall on a PRN basis and it does help me alot.
By Jsuz1  Aug 19, 2010
yes, i take provigil, .5, each morning and it has helped me have more energy to do the things I want to do each day. No side effects, hoping it will speed up my metabolism.
By Abotsd  Aug 12, 2010
I have adhd and cfs and fibro and Aderall helps for about a week then it starts to make my symptoms worse, the deep muscle pain and exhaustion and tight muscles, however I could not function and take care of my house , children and full time job without some kind of stimulant.
By 2muchlost  Aug 12, 2010
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