REFUEL-MS: Can a digital intervention help to improve fatigue in people with MS?

Data from the UK MS Register shows 90% of people with MS experience fatigue. But less than a third of people have been offered treatment for their fatigue as part of their routine care. 

Some people with MS find existing drug treatments, like amantadine, help their fatigue. But these don’t work for everyone. They often come with side effects. And some evidence suggests non-drug treatments can actually make a bigger difference to fatigue levels. 

So as well as developing better medications for MS fatigue, we need other ways to help people with MS reduce their fatigue.

About the programme 

Research shows doing physical activity can improve fatigue. And we also know fatigue can be improved by exploring how you think and feel about your fatigue. For example, being self-critical can worsen fatigue. 

So the new online programme will include physical activity as well as cognitive behavioural therapy. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists will also provide guidance alongside the programme. 

People with MS will discuss their thoughts, feelings and actions that may make fatigue worse. And researchers will use this knowledge to develop new personalised ways of managing fatigue.  

Designed by and for people with MS 

So far, most non-drug programmes for MS fatigue haven’t been designed to factor in how they'd be delivered on the NHS. REFUEL-MS will be the first that's been developed with the NHS’ requirements at its heart.  

Lots of people with MS have been involved in shaping this research from the beginning. Family and friends who support people with MS will also be involved. And people from diverse backgrounds are helping the team reach historically under-served groups. 

How will it help people with MS? 

We know people want better ways to manage their fatigue. If the results of REFUEL-MS show the programme can help improve fatigue, it’ll hopefully become widely available as routine NHS care. 

The difference you can make 

We want everyone with MS to have access to effective ways to manage their symptoms. With your help, we can continue to support vital research like this. 

Take part in MS research