Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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A randomised controlled trial of a psycho-educational intervention to aid recovery in infectious mononucleosis.

OBJECTIVES: Glandular fever is associated with an approximate fivefold increase in fatigue at 6 months. Reduced levels of fitness and illness beliefs may be important predictors of fatigue following glandular fever. We therefore developed a brief psycho-educational intervention aimed at improving recovery from infectious mononucleosis, and piloted a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the intervention.

METHODS: We performed a randomised-controlled trial in primary health care in Southeast London and Kent. Sixty-nine patients aged between 16 and 45 years who were diagnosed, serologically and clinically, with acute infectious mononucleosis between December 1999 and December 2000 were randomised. The control group received a standardised fact-sheet about infectious mononucleosis, which gave no advice on rehabilitation. Patients who were randomised to the intervention received an individual treatment session, two follow-up telephone calls, and an information booklet. Fatigue score 6 months after the onset of infectious mononucleosis was the main outcome measure.

RESULTS: Sixty-nine out of 139 patients referred were recruited and randomised. Eighty-seven percent of those recruited completed the Fatigue Questionnaire at 6 months. The intervention was acceptable to all who received it. There were fewer fatigue cases in the intervention group than the control group at 6 months follow-up (odds ratio 0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.09-0.91).

CONCLUSIONS: A brief intervention at the diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is acceptable, and may help prevent the development of chronic fatigue. Definitive randomised controlled trials are required to test the intervention.

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