RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME

 

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes an uncontrollable urge to twitch or move your legs while falling asleep. Naturally, this makes it difficult to fall asleep or remain asleep, so over time RLS can cause chronic sleep deprivation.

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SYMPTOMS

Symptoms include: 

  • Aching legs and feet

  • Itching sensation

  • Buzzing sensations

  • Feeling that your skin is “crawling”

  • Limbs jerking uncontrollably.

 

These symptoms can appear any time you relax, not just when you are trying to go to sleep at night.

TREATMENT

Sometimes, treating an underlying condition nutritional deficiency can help alleviate the symptoms of RLS.  This type of treatment should be done under the supervision of your physician.

 

Medications used include:

  • Medications that increase dopamine in the brain. These medications affect levels of the chemical messenger dopamine in your brain. Ropinirole (Requip), rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.

  • Drugs affecting calcium channels. Certain medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise), gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica), work for some people with RLS.

  • Opioids. Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in high doses. Some examples include tramadol (Ultram, ConZip), codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, others) and hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER).

  • Muscle relaxants and sleep medications. These drugs help you sleep better at night, but they don't eliminate the leg sensations, and they may cause daytime drowsiness. These medications are generally only used if no other treatment provides relief.