International Consensus Primer (2012)

ICP front coverInternational Consensus Primer (ICP) for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) (2012)

An International Consensus Panel, consisting of clinicians, research investigators, teaching faculty, and an independent educator, represent diverse backgrounds, medical specialities and geographical regions. Collectively, the members of the panel have:




  • Diagnosed and/or treated more than 50 000 patients who have ME;
  • More than 500 years of clinical experience;
  • Approximately 500 years of teaching experience;
  • Authored hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, as well as written chapters and medical books; and
  • Several members have co-authored previous criteria.

Panel members contributed their extensive knowledge and experience to the development of the International Consensus Criteria (ICC) and this Primer. In addition, an International Symptom Scale will be developed to complement the criteria and promote clearer identification of patients for research studies.

International Consensus Primer (ICP)


Overly inclusive criteria have created misperceptions, fostered cynicism and have had a major negative impact on how ME is viewed by the medical community, patients, their families, as well as the general public. Some medical schools do not include ME in their curriculum with the result that very significant scientific advances and appropriate diagnostic and treatment protocols have not reached many busy medical practitioners.

Some doctors may be unaware of the complexity and serious nature of ME. Patients may go undiagnosed and untreated; they may be shunned or isolated.


The ICP was written to provide clinicians a one-stop, user-friendly reference for ME. It includes a concise summary of current pathophysiological findings upon which the ICC are based. A comprehensive clinical assessment and diagnostic worksheet enables clear and consistent diagnosis of adult and paediatric patients world-wide. The treatment and management guidelines offer a blueprint for a personalized, holistic approach to patient care, and include non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical suggestions. Patient self-help strategies provide recommendations for energy conservation, diet, and more.

Educational considerations for children are included. The ICP specifically targets primary care clinicians, as well as specialists in internal medicine. Other medical care practitioners may find it helpful. Medical school faculties are encouraged to include this primer in their curriculum. The International Consensus Primer represents the collective wisdom and experience of the members of the panel. They share their insights into this complex disease gleaned through research and hundreds of thousands of hours of clinical investigations.

The International Consensus Panel anticipates that the primer will bring forward movement in enhancing clarity and consistency of diagnoses and treatment of ME internationally.

(This information is all created from excerpts from the ICP.)

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