Nijhof and colleagues from the Netherlands present the long term follow up data from the FITNET study in the June 2013 edition of Pediatrics. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is known to be an effective treatment of adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), but its availability is limited. Fatigue in Teenagers on the Internet (FITNET), an Internet-based CBT program for adolescents with CFS, has been developed as an alternative to face-to-face CBT and a recent RCT showed promising short-term effectiveness. In this long term follow up study data were completed for 112 (88.2%) of 127 approached FITNET study participants. The primary outcomes were fatigue severity, physical functioning, and school/work attendance. After a mean follow-up of 2.7 years, 66 (58.9%) adolescents had recovered from CFS. Most adolescents who recovered directly after treatment with FITNET were still recovered at follow up. At follow up there was no difference between the recovery rates for the different treatment strategies and the authors conclude that the short-term effectiveness of Internet-based CBT on adolescent CFS is maintained at long term follow up and that whilst usual care led to similar recovery rates, these rates were achieved at a slower pace.
PEDIATRICS Vol. 131 No. 6 June 1, 2013 pp. e1788 -e1795 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2007)