Guaifenesin: Quack, Cure, or Conumdrum?
many years, by-prescription-only levels of guaifenesin, a common ingredient
found in over-the-counter cough medicines, has been touted as a cure, or
significant remediator, for CFS/Fibromyalgia. One has to take it, according
to many protocols, for at least one month for every year one has been ill
with CFS (if you've had CFS for 15 years, you will have to take guaifenisin
for at least 15 months for positive benefits to be recognized).
Many people through the years have tried guaifenesin for long periods of time - with no change in their health. Others seem to derive positive changes from taking it.
So, what gives? Is it a cure, or a remediator, or not?
The answer is probably not as simple as the question, because chronic fatigue (immune dysfunction) syndrome and fibromyalgia are not simple diseases. Not only are they complex amalgams of dysregulated systems and organs, but there is no single etiology - no one cause or trigger for these complex neuroimmunoendocrinological diseases. Therefore, there is no one single agent - drug, herb, supplement, surgical procedure, whatever - that will help everyone who has these diseases.
Will it work for
The diagnosis of CFS is an umbrella term that covers people whose immune, endocrine and neurological profiles may be radically different yet they still have the same symptoms. Most of the symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap those of CFS leading many to believe they are the same or that the specific-to-FM symptoms represent a subgroups. Until researchers figure out all the subgroups, we will be stuck with treatments that claim to cure or remediate CFS and/or FM but which in fact may be effective for only one of the subgroups of patients.
Dr. Paul St. Amand, in his book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia, and guai protocol, refers to an enormous range of products and plants which include salicylates. From what I hear from those following his protocol, it is extremely difficult to eliminate salicylates completely for the duration of the treatment, something that many patients may not be able to do. If you're highly motivated and can connect with a support group of other guaifenesin users, then your chances of doing it right and sticking to the protocol long enough to determine if it is helping you or not will increase significantly.
More Guaifenesin Information
R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.
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