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Internet-Based Program Treats Chronic Fatigue in Teens

Therapist e-consults reduce fatigue, improve school attendance and physical functioning

THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Use of an Internet-based therapeutic program, Fatigue In Teenagers on the interNET (FITNET), improves outcomes for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a study published online March 1 in The Lancet.

Sanne L. Nijhof, M.D., from the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of an Internet-based therapeutic program for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome with usual care. Of 135 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, 68 were assigned to FITNET and 67 to usual care; results for 67 and 64, respectively, were analyzed. Primary outcomes (school attendance, fatigue severity, and physical functioning) were assessed at six months using computerized questionnaires.

The researchers found that, for all primary outcomes, FITNET was significantly more effective than usual care: full school attendance (75 versus 16 percent), absence of severe fatigue (85 versus 27 percent), and normal physical functioning (78 versus 20 percent). There were no serious adverse events reported.

"FITNET offers a readily accessible and highly effective treatment for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome. The results of this study justify implementation on a broader scale," the authors write.

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