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Other Medications: Nonsedating antihistamines, antianxiety agents such as alprazolam, and tricyclic antidepressants may be helpful. Experimental treatments include the antiviral acyclovir and selected immunomodulating agents, such as intravenous gamma globulin, ampligen, transfer factor, and others.

Independent

It is important to set realistic goals when planning care with the CFIDS patient. Teach patients not to overexert themselves. It is believed that stress can prolong the disease or result in an exacerbation. Relaxation and stress-reducing techniques such as hypnosis, massage, biofeedback, and meditation may be useful if sleep patterns are altered. Explain that, although the symptoms tend to wax and wane, they are often debilitating and may last for months or even years. The patient therefore needs to reduce his or her activities when symptoms are more pronounced but also needs to avoid bedrest, which has no proven therapeutic value for CFIDS patients. Encourage a graded exercise program, and provide an appropriate referral for continuing exercise. Stress the need to progress slowly with exercise to avoid overfatigue. Referring the patient and family to counseling and support groups may assist in developing appropriate coping skills for dealing with a chronic, debilitating illness.

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