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What Can I Take for Restless Leg Syndrome?

By    |   Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:31 AM

Question: I think I have restless leg syndrome. It’s uncomfortable and keeps me awake at night. Are there any medications I can take for it?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Restless legs are uncomfortable and painful, and can interrupt sleep. Up to 15 percent of adults have it and up to 19 percent of pregnant women develop RLS symptoms during pregnancy. It does not cause serious health issues, but can interfere with sleep and may be a common reason for daytime fatigue.
 
If you think you have RLS, go to your doctor for a check for other underlying disorders such as circulatory problems, electrolyte problems, and other conditions associated with recurrent aches such as iron deficiency.
 
Here are some tips for you.
  • Stop smoking and drink alcohol in moderation only, if at all.
  • Some drugs can cause RLS, and that includes herbal remedies.
  • Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and chocolate products, especially within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Try not to nap during the day, which will improve your night-time sleep.
  • Regular moderate exercise and muscle stretching is very helpful in easing this condition. But avoid doing this close to bedtime.
  • Heat and cold packs, hot baths, and relaxation techniques help many with their RLS complaints.
  • Massages are good for cramping muscles.
Sometimes it takes a few weeks of avoiding the agents mentioned above and making the changes suggested before RLS symptoms will improve.

There are medications available for RLS. Start with Tylenol, or pain meds like naproxen or Advil-type drugs for relief. You can also ask your doctor about trying sleep aids or muscle relaxants for temporary. Serious RLS may need various other drugs such as anticonvulsants or even Parkinson's medication. Gabapentin is very commonly used for RLS management and is very well tolerated by most patients both at low and high doses.
 
But it would be wise for you to try some of the other lifestyle changes first, to see if they make a difference.

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Dr-Hibberd
Restless legs are uncomfortable and painful, and can interrupt sleep. But there are many treatment options.
restless, leg, syndrome, remedy
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2014-31-15
Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:31 AM
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