Misleading PACE claims should be retracted

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ME Action
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ME Action
Misleading PACE claims should be retracted
of 15,000 signatures


Given the weak and flawed methodologies of the PACE trial, which claims that CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and GET (graded exercise) led to the recovery of ME/CFS patients, we, the undersigned patients, doctors, scientists, parents, children, family, friends, caretakers and #MEAllies:

– call upon The Lancet to retract the claim made in its February 2011 editorial [1] that 30% of patients, or indeed any patients at all, were said to have recovered in the accompanying Lancet paper on the PACE trial [2]; and retract from that paper all analyses and statements in relation to the absurd “normal ranges” for fatigue and physical function; http://www.meaction.net/whats-wrong-in-the-lancet

– call upon Psychological Medicine to retract the claims in this paper [3] that 22% of patients in the CBT and GET groups recovered, based on recovery criteria that were weakened so far from their original form in the study protocol that they no longer represent recovery by any rational standard;


– call upon the study authors to publish the recovery outcomes according to the analyses specified in the trial’s protocol [4] and to give independent researchers full access to the raw data (anonymised by removing trial identifiers and all other data superfluous to the calculation, such as age, sex or location). #MEAction undertakes to meet any reasonable cost of analysis or data preparation;​http://www.meaction.net/why-the-pace-trial-authors-should-publish-the-planned-recovery-analyses/

- call upon all parties to reject the view that being as disabled as patients with congestive heart failure is a good recovery of physical function in CFS.

Why is this important?

The UK’s £5 million PACE trial has been hugely influential in bolstering the view that CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) patients can recover if they gradually increase their activity, despite widespread reports of harm [5]. This view informs how patients around the world are treated in the media, in medical practice and by society. It is crucial that misleading claims of recovery do not stand.

"All the issues with the trial are extremely worrying, making interpretation of the clinical significance of the findings more or less impossible.” – Emeritus Professor Jonathan Edwards of University College London

Claims have been made in The Lancet and Psychological Medicine that a substantial proportion of CFS patients in the PACE trial recovered after a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or graded exercise therapy (GET). However, the claims are based on criteria that were revised after the study was already underway. These new criteria included “normal ranges” for fatigue and physical function that are so broad that patients could at the end of the trial have physical function similar to someone with congestive heart failure — and yet be classed as “recovered”.

Being as disabled as patients with congestive heart failure [6] simply isn’t good enough to count as recovery of physical function for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

READ MORE: http://www.meaction.net/background-to-the-petition/



[3] http://1.usa.gov/1iioqBz  
[4] http://bit.ly/1PRcpBK
[5] http://bit.ly/1Mtu8yM

Editor's note: We use here the term "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" (CFS) in line with the PACE trial authors' terminology and use of the Oxford Criteria.

Reasons for signing

  • Courtney B. 2016-06-24 07:33:05 -0400
    I would rather be kicked in the face than do PACE.
  • Geneviève D. 2016-05-12 14:38:09 -0400
    J'ai l'EM et j'ai essayé un programme d'exercice graduelle, j'étais de plus en plus fatiguée et je perds des capacités d'année en année. Chez moi, l'EM est dégénérative.
  • Lisa E. 2016-04-05 11:47:24 -0400
    As a CFS sufferer with evidence of mitochondrial malfunction, I can see clear improvements in my energy levels from Myhill's treatment programme, but know that attempting to do more that my body allows simply sets me back. The NHS MUST recognise the need for actual effective treatment


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