Holtorf found that the majority of CFS and FM patients displayed abnormal adrenal function due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction. The comprehensive review also showed that the majority of patients could be treated for this adrenal dysfunction with cortisol, in doses of as little as 5 mg to 15 mg a day, as part of a multi-system treatment.
Source: FightFM.com 24 March 2008:
New Study Recommends Cortisol Treatment For FM/CFIDS Patients
Photo: The body’s cortisol feedback system
A study published in the recent edition of the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome suggests that the hormone cortisol may play a significant role in the etiology and symptomatology of Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS) and Fibromyalgia (FM).
Patients who suffer from either syndrome know firsthand how difficult it can be to find effective treatments for the conditions. The new study, conducted by Torrance, CA Dr. Kent Holtorf, states that patients may experience significant relief from symptoms of exhaustion and pain by including little as 5 - 15 mg of cortisol per day in their treatment regimens. A summary on the Occupational Health and Safety website states:
… Kent Holtorf, M.D., medical director of the Torrance, Calif.-based Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine, Neurological and Infection related illness, is advising a simplified treatment process that may help alleviate the diseases’ symptoms. From an extensive review of more than 50 published studies that assessed adrenal function in CFS and FM patients, Holtorf found that the majority of CFS and FM patients displayed abnormal adrenal function due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction. The comprehensive review also showed that the majority of patients could be treated for this adrenal dysfunction with cortisol, in doses of as little as 5 mg to 15 mg a day, as part of a multi-system treatment.Though no specific tests currently exist which can definitively diagnose CFIDS or FM, physicians can perform laboratory tests to determine patients’ cortisol levels. It is unclear whether patients whose levels fall within the normal range might still benefit from additional cortisol treatment.
“This research provides a new understanding that treating the known causes of illness in CFS and FM can improve the symptoms and quality-of-life of patients who suffer from these conditions,” Holtorf says. He adds that his research was confirmed in an observational study following the conditions of 500 patients from his clinic where, of the patients given cortisol as part of their treatment protocol, 94 percent showed improvement by the fourth visit, 75 percent noted significant improvement, and 62 percent reported substantial improvement. In addition, by the fourth visit energy levels and a general sense of well-being for patients doubled, Holtorf says. The effectiveness of this multi-system treatment was further confirmed through the analysis of the cumulative findings of more than 40 independent physicians and more than 5,000 patients, the study says.
* Editor’s Note - Several years of personal experience with Dr. Holtorf and his clinic have taught me caution regarding his level of enthusiasm for new treatments. Though we have every reason to hope that this study marks significant progress in the understanding and treatment of these conditions, the urge to believe in a single miraculous cure, while understandable, must be tempered with the acknowledgment that CFIDS and FM are complicated syndromes which require a great deal of further study by the medical community.