January 15, 2007

A preliminary study suggests there may be hope in the offing for some sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with a new therapy being tested by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

José Montoya, MD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases), and postdoctoral scholar Andreas Kogelnik, MD, PhD, have used the drug valganciclovir (an antiviral often used in treating diseases caused by human herpes viruses) to treat a small number of CFS patients.

The researchers said they treated 25 patients during the last three years, 21 of whom responded with significant improvement that was sustained even after going off the medication at the end of the treatment regimen, which usually lasts 6 months. The first patient has now been off the drug for almost 3 years and has had no relapses. A paper describing the first dozen patients Montoya and Kogelnik treated with the drug was published in the December issue of Journal of Clinical Virology.