Press release: New hope for sufferers of CFS/ME and fibromyalgia on international awareness day

There are finally good news for people with CFS/ME (chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis) and fibromyalgia. For years they have been told that there is no treatment, but in fact there are hundreds of medications that can help. Maija Haavisto's new book features over 250 of them, backed up both by research and the experience of dozens of high-profile CFS/ME and fibromyalgia experts. Every symptom from vertigo to abdominal pain is covered.

Maija Haavisto hopes that her book will instill hope in the sufferers and make doctors more open to non-traditional pharmaceutical approaches. Many patients are anxiously waiting for some miracle cures that the research will bring out, but the Finnish medical writer says there is already plenty that can be done for them.

"You have to abandon the old, simplistic idea that stimulants are for tiredness, antidepressants are for depression, blood pressure drugs are for hypertension, and so on," Haavisto says. "CFS/ME and fibromyalgia can be treated with e.g. Alzheimer's medications, antihistamines, steroid hormones and even some cancer drugs. A sleep aid may help pain and a painkiller can reduce fatigue. The first and so far only FDA-approved fibromyalgia drug Lyrica is in fact an anticonvulsant, an epilepsy drug. But doctors don't know that most anticonvulsants can be used to treat CFS/ME and fibromyalgia."

Haavisto has suffered from CFS/ME herself since 2000 and at one point it looked like she would end up in wheelchair. She credits her improvement to a peculiar cocktail of pharmaceuticals - a medication used in drug and alcohol withdrawal, another one indicated for cerebral hemorrhage and a third one for cortical myoclonus, a combination she selected on her doctor's approval.

"It's unbelievable how little treatment most patients are given in this day and age. Many are told 'try not to think about your symptoms too much,' which isn't of much comfort to someone who is wheelchair-bound or in agonizing pain around the clock. Some patients unfortunately end up committing suicide because of hopelessness and despair." Haavisto dedicated her book to a woman who took her own life because she could no longer bear her intractable pain that had lasted for over a decade.

"Unlike most others, professional atheletes who get CFS/ME and fibromyalgia tend to recover," Haavisto points out. "It could be that this is because they are more fit to begin with, but I think it also proves that appropriate treatment can do wonders. These people have excellent doctors who are aggressively trying new treatments, and they get better. It is hardly a coincidence."

Maija Haavisto's book "Reviving the Broken Marionette" is launched world-wide on May 12th, a date that is celebrated as the international CFS/ME/fibromyalgia awareness day after Florence Nightingale's birthday. The nursing pioneer suffered for years from a fatiguing illness, which is now thought to have been CFS/ME or fibromyalgia.