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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
September 2001

Q. My husband suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and although he works full-time commuting 4 hours per day, his energy resources are limited. He has noticed that he becomes increasingly short of breath (dyspnic) on exertion. Someone mentioned that Singulair might be helpful. Is Singulair a steroid, what is its mechanism in the body, and is it for asthmatics only?

A. Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), is estimated to be affecting nearly one million Americans. It is an area of much research, yet there is still very incomplete understanding of the cause of the condition, and as such treatment can vary a lot from person to person. Use of medication is often aimed at relieving the specific symptoms that are contributing to the disability. The current definition of CFIDS is as follows:

1. Severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and

2.Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms:

  • substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
  • sore throat tender lymph nodes
  • muscle pain
  • multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
I have not found any published medical reports on the use of Singulair for this condition; it is a medication useful for asthma, hives, and other allergy problems.

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