Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Update on my Adderall use: a big help...used cautiously

I rarely do this, but I am recycling a post I made on a forum for this blog post because I think it's useful enough to share with a wider audience.  This post was in response to a question by another poster who asked if anyone was doing a self-help version of the K-PAX trial.  

A supplement manufacturer, KPAX, is or was conducting an ME/CFS drug trial in which they combined the stimulant Ritalin (a drug typically used to treat ADD and ADHD) with KPAX's own immune stimulating supplement.  Some well-known ME/CFS researchers have theorized that the combination of Ritalin and certain other mitochondrial-support supplements (which are found in KPAX's supplement) may have a "synergistic effect," boosting the immune system and mitochondrial energy.

My take on this:
I have been and continue to be unwittingly doing a similar protocol. I happen to be taking all the ingredients in the KPAX Immune Support supplement independently (but not packaged exactly as KPAX does). Instead of Ritalin, I'm using Adderall. My understanding is Ritalin and Adderall are closely related and used for the same purpose, but I don't know if they would be considered interchangeable for the "synergistic" purposes of the KPAX trial, so take this with a grain of salt. 
Also, I don't take the Adderall every day...maybe 2 or 3 times a week. At first, the point of the Adderall for me was to cut through the brain fog. Then I noticed that every time I took it, I had a way above-baseline day. But I figured that was because Adderall is a stimulant and is therefore making me feel* like I have more energy without actually improving my health.  
Then after a while I started to noticed that if I was semi-crashed, or had inflammation, or shortness of breath, or flank pain, or sore throat or any of the many other symptoms I get with ME/CFS, they would go away or be greatly reduced when I took the Adderall on top of the other mitochondrial supplements (which I take every day.) I also noticed that the health & energy improvement usually continued the next day, even after the Adderall had long since worn off.  
So now I'm starting to suspect that the Adderall may be doing more than just giving me the illusion of feeling better. I think it may actually be making me better. I am, of course, proceeding very cautiously but I love having Adderall in my bag of tricks. Basically any time I need or want to have a good day, I can have one instantly. The temptation is strong to just take Adderall every day, but I'm not ready to go that far.
To be clear, I am not advocating the use of Adderall, I'm just relating my own experiences recently.  Adderall is still a heavily controlled substance and the risk of addiction is apparently strong with this drug.  Other patients have also expressed the concern over potential adrenal burnout if an ME/CFS patient become too reliant on Adderall.

I should also point out that I've never tried Adderall when I'm in a truly deep, serious crash. Instinct tells me that would not be a good idea.  Also, Adderall has been useless to me against the types of crashes that are due to me catching a cold or another bug, but it has been somewhat effective when I get a flare-up of regular ME/CFS symptoms.