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A multicenter randomized controlled trial of two group education programs for fatigue in multiple sclerosis: Short- and medium-term benefits.


Background Fatigue occurs in 75%-95% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is frequently reported as the most disabling symptom. A multicomponent group program of six weekly 2-hour sessions, Fatigue: Take Control (FTC), was developed from an international MS fatigue management guideline. Objective To determine whether FTC is associated with greater improvements in fatigue than MS: Take Control (MSTC), a similarly structured general MS education program. Methods This four-site, parallel, single-blind, randomized controlled trial compared FTC and MSTC in 204 ambulatory participants with MS. The primary outcome, the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), and secondary outcomes of self-efficacy, physical activity, sleep, and medications were assessed at baseline, program completion, and 3 and 6 months later. Results Mean MFIS scores improved in both groups between baseline and program completion (FTC -4.4, p < 0.001; MSTC -3.8, p < 0.001), between baseline and 3 months after program completion (FTC -3.2, p = 0.01; MSTC -3.3, p = 0.01), and between baseline and 6 months after program completion (FTC -5.2, p < 0.001; MSTC -4.8, p < 0.001). These improvements were not statistically different between groups ( p = 0.64, 0.92, and 0.82, respectively). Conclusion Participation in FTC modestly improved self-reported fatigue for up to 6 months. This improvement did not differ significantly from that occurring with the control program.