Whilst researching current available ME/CFS treatments I came across an antiviral clinical study. It was formed by a Dr Lerner at the Treatment Center for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome located in Michigan in the United States. Dr Lerner has devoted his entire working life to analysing the correlation between viruses and ME/CFS. His latest study revealed catagorising antiviral treatment into three subsets. Those whose ME/CFS commenced from Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), those from Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), or those from both. As my ME/CFS commenced from EBV and I have been tested negative for HCMV, I was keen to discover the approach that was taken. The paper revealed the antiviral drug used for an onset by EBV was Valacyclovir, for HCMV was Valganciclovir, and went on to state that both should be used if both viruses were present at onset. My EBNA IgG antibody for EBV is up at 200. This is unusually high and although this result only shows a latent infection, every medical professional I have asked to why the value is so high has not been able to provide me with an explanation, just saying this titre remains up for life. Just maybe this is the reason for such prolonged EBV symptoms, and a link to ME/CFS. I will be interested to retake this blood test after a year or so on antiviral treatment, as this value has now remained constant for 18 months.
Dr Lerner presented these results in the UK in 2008 and a link to the video presentation from his website is below.
An interesting question was raised by a member of the public at the end of the presentation, asking whether this will become available in the UK. A representative replied, ‘it will take time for the ground rules to be put in place’. This suggested over time this will become available. I have recently read that the NICE guideline for ME/CFS will be reviewed in late 2010. As of yet this antiviral treatment is still not offered so these procedures mentioned have not developed over the last two years. It is common practice in the US to offer antiviral's, so in my view it must be down to funding in the UK. I understand this treatment is inevitably not the complete answer. However, if it has helped so many people with the same condition to even reduce symptoms, in my eyes is it worth a trial, especially as they reported no serious side effects.
Reading into the ‘Breakspear’ literature, it highlights they offer antiviral treatment. This was the only place I have found in the UK to do so, but do they use the same drug? Well yes, nearly. After I undergo allergy testing on the product, I am to start on Aciclovir. Dr Lerner recommends Valacyclovir for my condition but I then discovered something interesting. Valacyclovir is a pro-drug and once inside the body is broken down into the active ingredient Aciclovir. The reason I can see to use Valacyclovir over Aciclovir is that it is more absorbable and hence more effective with the final compound used by the body being the same. I am to double check with the ‘Breakspear’ that Valacyclovir is not available, but am happy to have found and share a route for this treatment which many do not think is available here in the UK.