Background: Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim was to evaluate the effectiveness at 1-year follow-up of a manualised group-based programme ('FACETS') for managing MS-fatigue.
Methods: One-year follow-up of a pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial. People with MS and significant fatigue were randomised to FACETS plus current local practice (FACETS) or current local practice alone (CLP), using concealed computer-generated randomisation. Participant blinding was not possible. Primary outcome measures were fatigue severity (Global Fatigue Severity subscale of the Fatigue Assessment Instrument), self-efficacy (MS-Fatigue Self-Efficacy) and disease-specific quality of life (MS Impact Scale).
Results: Between May 2008 and November 2009, 164 participants were randomised. Primary outcome data were available at 1 year for 131 (80%). The benefits demonstrated at 4-months in the FACETS arm for fatigue severity and self-efficacy largely persisted, with a slight reduction in standardised effect sizes (SES) (-0.29, p = 0.06 and 0.34, p = 0.09, respectively). There was a significant difference on the MS Impact Scale favouring FACETS that had not been present at 4-months (SES -0.24, p = 0.046). No adverse events were reported.
Conclusions: Improvements in fatigue severity and self-efficacy at 4-months follow-up following attendance of FACETS were mostly sustained at 1 year with additional improvements in MS impact. The FACETS programme provides modest long-term benefits to people with MS-fatigue.
Trial registration: ISRCTN76517470.