RA Drug May Not Ease Chronic Fatigue After All

MONDAY, March 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — A small-scale clinical trial has cast doubt upon the potential usefulness of an anti-inflammatory drug to treat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Doctors had hoped that anakinra (Kineret) — a medication for rheumatoid arthritis — also could be used to relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

But after a month of daily anakinra injections, a group of 25 women reported chronic fatigue symptoms as severe as those experienced by a control group receiving placebo shots, researchers reported.

“In this carefully and well-controlled study, we were unable to show a beneficial effect,” said senior researcher Dr. Jos Van der Meer.

“Of course, this is a disappointment,” added Van der Meer, chair of internal medicine at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Anakinra treats rheumatoid arthritis by blocking interleukin-1, a biochemical produced by the immune system to create inflammation.

Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have been found to have increased levels of interleukin-1 in their bloodstream. This has fueled suspicion that the mysterious disorder might be linked in some way to inflammation, the researchers said in background notes.

In addition, previous studies have shown that arthritis patients treated with anakinra experience a dramatic decline in their fatigue levels, said Dr. Kevin Fleming, a geriatric specialist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He wasn’t involved in the study.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is generally diagnosed as six months or more of extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with bed rest. It generally spikes after activities requiring physical or mental energy, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health.

The debilitating disorder has no known cause, the women’s health office says, but reports have linked its onset in some to mononucleosis, flu-like illness, or a period of intense physical stress.

To test anakinra’s potential as a treatment, the researchers randomly assigned 25 women with chronic fatigue to receive daily 100-milligram injections of the drug. Another 25 women received a placebo.

After one month, there was no meaningful difference between the two groups in fatigue severity.

Other symptoms — including pain, distress, and physical and social functioning — were not appreciably different, either, according to the study authors.

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From: http://www.webmd.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/news/20170306/rheumatoid-arthritis-drug-may-not-ease-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-after-all?src=RSS_PUBLIC

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