CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-9917
Release: June 22, 1999
UI invites people to take part in studies on chronic
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care
researchers invite people with unexplained chronic fatigue to participate
in studies of possible treatments for the condition. One study will evaluate
the effectiveness of treatment with citalopram, a prescription drug; the other
study will evaluate the use of Siberian ginseng, an herbal product. People
can participate in one of the two studies.
Participants must be 21 to 65 years old and experiencing
fatigue that substantially interferes with their quality of life. The fatigue
cannot be due to overwork, inadequate sleep, well-established medical illnesses
such as heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis, depression or any other known
cause. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia do qualify
for the study. Women must not be pregnant or planning to get pregnant while
enrolled in the study. People who wish to participate in the citalopram
study must not be taking antidepressants. People who wish to participate in
the Siberian ginseng study must not have high blood pressure.
The citalopram study will last nine weeks. Participants
must be willing to take medication daily and make a total of four visits to
the UI Hospitals and Clinics. Participants will take citalopram or a placebo
(sugar pill) at different times during the study. Citalopram is a drug recently
approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat depression.
The Siberian ginseng study will last 16 weeks. Participants
must be willing to take medication daily and make a total of five visits to
the UI Hospitals and Clinics or their local physician. For the first eight
weeks, half of the participants will take Siberian ginseng, while the other
half will take a placebo. For the second eight weeks, all participants will
take the Siberian ginseng.
"The only generally accepted therapy for chronic fatigue
of unknown cause currently is cognitive behavior therapy," said Arthur J.
Hartz, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of family medicine and lead investigator
for both studies. "Our studies will look at both conventional and alternative
treatment methods. We hope to identify people with chronic fatigue who are
most likely to benefit from citalopram, and we want to evaluate claims that
Siberian ginseng helps reduce fatigue."
For more information about either study, call (319)