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Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (FITNET) is an effective treatment for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome

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Study design

Design: Randomised controlled trial.

Allocation: Computer generated blocked allocation.

Blinding: Investigators and participants were not blinded.

Study question

Setting: Two outpatient clinics in Holland (paediatric hospital and treatment coordinating centre) receiving nationwide referrals.

Patients: 135 adolescents aged 12–18 years with chronic fatigue symptoms (Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) definition).

Intervention: Adolescents were randomised to two groups to receive: newly developed computer-based FITNET programme (containing cognitive behavioural modules, e-consults and a separate parental programme) or standard care (combination of cognitive behavioural therapy, rehabilitation or graded exercise programmes).

Outcomes: Primary outcomes were school attendance, fatigue severity and physical functioning at 6 and 12 months, assessed via questionnaires and subscale ratings. Secondary outcome was self-rated improvement.

Follow-up period: Outcomes were assessed at 6 and 12 months.

Patient follow-up: At 6 and 12 months, 67/68 and 64/68 adolescents allocated to FITNET and 64/67 and 63/67 adolescents allocated to standard care were analysed respectively. Intention-to-treat analysis …

Correspondence to Dr Esther M Crawley, Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, School of Social and Community Medicine, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove Bristol BS8 2BN, UK; esther.crawley{at}bristol.ac.uk

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