Fatigue is one of the most common and disabling symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) occurring in up to 90 per cent of people with MS.
MS-related fatigue occurs on a daily basis and gets worse during the day. Heat and humidity make it worse.
Fatigue is not directly linked to depression or degree of neurological disability, and may occur first thing in the morning even if the patient has slept well.
There is no medication approved specifically to treat MS-related fatigue.
Amantadine was the first medication used to treat fatigue, although most studies have not shown evidence of benefit. Modafinil was studied recently, also showing inconsistent results.
Several non-drug interventions have also been proposed including aquatic exercise training, occupational therapy, and internet-based programs.
Combating MS-related fatigue is of importance to those affected by MS, as it interferes with daily living, work, family life and socialising.
The Multiple Sclerosis Journal recently published the results of a study by researchers from Israel who measured the effect of vitamin D analogue, Alfacalcidol, on MS-related fatigue. In this study, 158 MS patients with significant fatigue received Alfacalcidol or a placebo.
The researchers found that Alfacalcidol is a safe and effective treatment for fatigue among patients with MS.
These findings suggest that Alfacalcidol, a drug similar to vitamin D, should be considered a safe treatment option for MS-related fatigue.