Chronic fatigue syndrome, Ampligen, and quality of life: a phenomenological perspective

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences Department

Conference Title

IACFS/ME Annual Meeting


International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME)


Bloomington, MN

Date of Presentation



The purpose of this investigation was to identify significant quality-of-life issues for two women previously diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and their families. Both women were participants in a cost-recovery, clinical trial of the antiviral and immuno-modulatory drug, Ampligen. A qualitative, case study approach was adopted to access information not normally available from clinical trials. Specifically, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with the CFS patients, and their spouses, to discover if these families perceived any changes in their patterns of daily living contingent with participation in the Ampligen trial. Patient diaries were also analyzed for the purpose of triangulation. Content analysis of the interview transcripts and diary entries revealed a number of significant quality of life improvements for the women and their families, for which they perceived the drug therapy responsible. After an initial acclimation period, and with the exception of the day when the drug was administered, both women reported a reduction in pain, increased energy levels, and improved cognitive functioning. They each cited numerous cases to illustrate their improvement.