The Canadian Movement Disorder Group
Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg Syndrome is a condition that results in an irresistible urge to move the legs. This tends to be noticeable on relaxing ,or lying down trying to fall  asleep. It resolves with physical activity. People may find they have to get out of bed and exercise their legs for a long time before they are able to fall asleep.

This condition is most often a primary disorder due to an inherited trait, and runs in families (usually autosomal Dominant). Sometimes it occurs as a secondary condition as the result of an underlying health problem (e.g. iron deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, vitamin deficiency, or in association with nerve damage in the legs).

Most, if not all the time there is an associated problem during sleep. This is called "Periodic Leg Movements of Sleep" (PLMS) and is a condition that results in  the legs twitching, twisting or jumping, every 20 - 30 second during the night. These movements can be bad enough to disrupt the deeper stages of sleep, and result in marked daytime fatigue.

Treatment

There are many medications that can aggravate RLS and the first step in managing the condition often involves discontinuing such medications eg /SSRIs.

If the blood levels of ferritin are below 50, supplementation with iron can be very helpful as a treatment.

Several medications can be used to try to control both restless legs, and Periodic Movements of Sleep.

These include: Pramipexole (Mirapex), Levo-Dopa (Sinemet CR), Gabapentin, Clonazepam (Rivotril), Codiene.

Many other remedies are suggested to help as well.

For more detail see:

http://www.rls.org   OR   www.wemove.org/rls/, www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/restless_legs.htm

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