PACE trial claims for recovery in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome - true or false? It's time for an independent review of the methodology and results

J Health Psychol. 2017 Aug;22(9):1187-1191. doi: 10.1177/1359105317703786. Epub 2017 Apr 9.


The PACE trial set out to discover whether cognitive behaviour therapy and graded exercise therapy are safe and effective forms of treatment for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. It concluded that these interventions could even result in recovery. However, patient evidence has repeatedly found that cognitive behaviour therapy is ineffective and graded exercise therapy can make the condition worse. The PACE trial methodology has been heavily criticised by clinicians, academics and patients. A re-analysis of the data has cast serious doubts on the recovery rates being claimed. The trust of patients has been lost. The medical profession must start listening to people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome if trust is going to be restored.

Keywords: activity; behavioural medicine; chronic fatigue syndrome; cognitive behaviour therapy; dissatisfaction; efficacy; exercise; graded exercise therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Dissent and Disputes*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Treatment Outcome