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Avatar universal

Restless legs

Does anyone have what's known as "restless legs" at night.  I'm on Peg-Intron/Riba and every night I wake up with not so much pain in my lower legs, but just feeling like I need to constantly move them.  I flip and flop around like a fish out of water for hours and then finally get back to sleep.  I called my GI and he said to call my primary and get some medication specifically made for "restless legs", but I was just wondering if anyone has this problem?
21 Responses
Avatar universal
I have that. I assume it is the ribavarin. I usually take an anti-histamine (Chlortrimaton) that I've used for years as a sleep aid. Since I usually wake up at 3 AM with this condition the anti-histamine will put me to sleep for 4 hours without making me drugged feeling when I wake up.
Avatar universal
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
The exact cause of restless legs syndrome is not known. The idiopathic or primary form of the disease seems to occur sporadically for unknown reasons. A family history of RLS is reported in many of these patients, suggesting a genetic component to the disease. Documented cases of parent-to-child transmission suggest that, in some familial cases, RLS may be inherited. In 2001, a French-Canadian group reported on a study of 25 family members, 14 of whom had RLS. The researchers suggest an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance in this family, with several candidate locations on chromosome 12 (Desautels A, Turecki G, Montplaisir J, et al. Identification of a major susceptibility locus for restless legs syndrome on chromosome 12q. Am J Hum Genet. 2001;69:1266-1270).

Secondary (or symptomatic) RLS occurs as a result of an underlying medical condition or in association with the use of certain drugs. For example, some conditions that may cause secondary RLS include kidney failure, low levels of iron, anemia, pregnancy, and peripheral neuropathy.

The symptoms of RLS may begin at any stage of life, including childhood, adolescence, or adulthood; however, the disease is more common with increasing age. Children with RLS are often misdiagnosed with "growing pains," anxiety disorders, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Forty percent of those diagnosed with RLS during adulthood report having experienced symptoms before the age of 20 years. RLS affects both males and females; however, females often seem to be more severely affected and thus may be more likely to seek medical attention leading to a diagnosis of RLS. About 42% of patients initially experience symptoms on one side of the body, and approximately 25% report unusual sensations and motor restlessness in their arms. A large majority (about 94%) experience associated sleep disturbance.

Is it possible that another medical problem may cause RLS?
Before recommending or prescribing any treatments, physicians assess patients to exclude any underlying disorders, conditions, or other factors that may be responsible for causing or aggravating their RLS. Secondary causes may be suspected when RLS symptoms are brief or have recently become more severe.

Symptomatic restless legs syndrome may occur secondary to iron deficiency, anemia, folate deficiency, uremia, thyroid problems, diabetes, or peripheral neuropathy. In such cases, appropriate treatment of the underlying condition may eliminate or alleviate RLS symptoms. Such treatments may include the use of iron supplements for iron deficiency, medications that lower blood sugar levels for underlying diabetes mellitus, etc. Appropriate supplementation with B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, or magnesium may help ease symptoms even if a specific deficiency has not been determined.

Are there medications that may cause secondary RLS?
The use of certain prescription or over-the-counter medications may cause or aggravate restless legs syndrome. Therefore, before recommending or prescribing any specific treatments, physicians may ask for detailed information about the patient's current regimen of medications. If physicians suspect that specific over-the-counter medications are contributing to the occurrence of RLS, they may suggest the use of alternative medications. If they suspect that certain necessary prescription medications are causing or exacerbating RLS symptoms, physicians may work in coordination with a patient's other physicians to ensure appropriate, comprehensive treatment of any disorders or conditions that are present. The potentially offending medication may be replaced with another drug.

Medications that may cause or aggravate RLS symptoms include many antinausea drugs, such as Compazine
Avatar universal
I thought I was the only one that woke up at 3am every morning!

I usually take a hot soak in the tub before bed, it helps most of the time and taking ambien too. Its a 4 hour sleep-aid for me as well.

FUBARCAT..... don't laugh, but if you put vicks vapor rub on your feet at nite with socks....it will help as well.... I was told about this for my ingrown toenails from my primary Doctor and laughed but finally went for it and it stopped the pain and I noticed it soothed my legs as well.....can't hurt to try!
Avatar universal
I used to get restless legs occasionally. I recall my father suffering with this problem so it may indeed have a genetic component. I haven't had this problem for years but I remember well the misery of the disorder. I too suspect that the meds we take may be a factor. It's hard to know what these drugs really do. Good luck. Mike
Avatar universal
I also have the restless leg thing ~ and when I'm having a bad night of it, I also have it in my arms.  My legs and arms jump and just can't be still.  I have found a heating pad helps settle them down and have at times taken one extra strength tylenol in desperation and it seems to help.  Lotion and a good massage may bring some relief, too.
Mike, interesting the tie in with the iron levels as mine were low at start of tx.        
ambush
Avatar universal
also try taking your calcium magnesium d at night it helps to relax and calm nerves.
Avatar universal
The one study suggests that it's not the iron load per se but the amount of iron in the brain. I think it's still up in the air but I don't think iron supplementation is appropriate for most of us here. Mike
Avatar universal
From your research, it sounds like "restless legs" are different from what I've got. The only other times I have had it have been from amphetamines in my youth so I assume it is totally a drug reaction.
Avatar universal
GI ordered Clonazepam (Klonopin) for me.  In doing a Google search, it says it is contraindicated in patients with "severe liver disease".  Now what does this tell me?  Either I DO NOT have severe liver disease and my doc put me on Peg/Riba as a cruel joke (Kidding, I know that's not true); or I can get a good night's sleep if I take it, however, I can kill my liver with it in the meantime.  Is there just no end to the string of problems this damn dragon is going to cause????  AAAGGGHHHH.  I think I'll try the heating pad, calcium at night, hot bath before actually taking the Klonopin.  If I absolutely have to take the Klonopin, then I guess I'll try it.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your help.  I really didn't want to start taking any other "drugs" other than the Peg/Riba as I know THAT can't be good for the ol' liver, but I caved and called my GI.  He called "something" into my pharmacy for me, but didn't tell me what it was.  I'll pick it up tonight and see what goodies he has for me now.  


Mike:  Thanks for the research - you are great!  I don't take any other prescribed meds other than Peg/Riba, but I do take vitamins, milk thistle and lecithin.  My blood work has come back slightly low, but nothing to be concerned about, so maybe it's just a case of slightly low RBC and WBC counts.  

Whatever - all I know is I need sleep and my poor little legs must walk a million miles every night without me!  I'll let ya'll know what the GI prescribed and how it worked tomorrow.

Thanks again so much for the helpful input from everyone!
Avatar universal
I agree ~ I had one GIPA at my office suggest I take a multi with iron and I disregarded the advice because my GI had previously told me NO iron and that it was a big plus to have the low iron storage in regards to tx success.  As a 1a, I need every "plus" I can get my hands on.
ambush
Avatar universal
I get this on shot nite. I have been taking 2 liquid Nyquils on shot nite and it helps me sleep through the nite - my liver doc said this the liquid Nyqil caps are ok to take while on tx. If I have restless legs, I am asleep and don't know it!!!
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