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Can Mirtazapine Cause Restless Leg Syndrome

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What Diagnostic Procedures Will Be Helpful In Making Or Excluding The Diagnosis Of Restless Legs Syndrome

If the diagnosis of RLS is uncertain, a full polysomnography might be useful to evaluate for the presence of increased numbers of periodic leg movements during sleep, which would be a supportive criteria. The number of periodic leg movements usually correlates with RLS severity. Nerve conduction studies may be indicated if there is doubt about the presence of a neuropathy.

Periodic Limb Movement In Sleep

Periodic limb movement in sleep , also known as periodic limb movement disorder , is experienced by about 80 percent of people with restless legs syndrome.

Periodic limb movement in sleep causes limbs, commonly the legs but also sometimes the arms, to jerk or twitch involuntarily during sleep. It can be so severe as to wake the sleeper and disturb anyone sharing the bed. Involuntary limb movements may also occur during waking hours, when it is known as periodic limb movement during awakening .

Most people with restless legs syndrome have PLMS, but many people with PLMS do not also have restless legs syndrome.

Drugs That Cause More Side Effects

Taking mirtazapine with certain medications may cause more side effects. These drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, triazolam, and midazolam. You may have more sedation and drowsiness.
  • Triptans, such as sumatriptan. Ask your doctor whether its safe for you to take these drugs together. Taking these medications with mirtazapine may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. Your doctor should watch you closely when you start taking these drugs together and during dosage changes.
  • Lithium. Ask your doctor whether its safe for you to take these drugs together. Taking lithium with mirtazapine may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Serotonergic medications, such as fentanyl, tramadol, and St. Johns wort. Ask your doctor whether its safe for you to take these drugs together. Taking these medications with mirtazapine may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Drugs that affect your heart rhythm, such as some antipsychotics and antibiotics. Ask your doctor whether its safe for you to take these drugs together. Taking these medications with mirtazapine may increase your risk of a heart rhythm problem called QT prolongation.
  • Warfarin.You may have an increase in bleeding. Your doctor will watch you closely if you take these drugs together.
  • Cimetidine

This drug comes with several warnings.

Other Restless Legs Triggers

Other health conditions can also cause restless legs. This is whats called secondary restless legs syndrome:

  • Pregnancy. According to Dr. Avidan, about 20 percent of pregnant women report restless legs symptoms. This is more likely in the last three months of pregnancy, and iron deficiency is usually the culprit. If symptoms crop up when youre expecting, your doctor will probably test the level of iron in your blood and prescribe iron supplements if its too low. The good news is that your restless legs symptoms will probably go away soon after you have your baby.
  • Medical conditions. Restless legs symptoms are also seen in some people with kidney failure and diabetes. Treating these conditions will often calm the restless legs.

The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation suggests using a sleep diary to pinpoint your personal triggers and gauge the severity of your symptoms. Always tell your doctor if your symptoms get noticeably worse.

Future Directions And Conclusions


Despite considerable attention in recent years dedicated to understanding the prevalence and risk factors for augmentation, there remains a dearth of controlled studies to provide guidance regarding optimal management of this iatrogenic complication of dopaminergic agents. The strategies outlined above have been developed through the combined clinical expertise of practitioners caring for these patients. However, the decision regarding when to discontinue dopaminergic agents during the course of managing augmentation varies between clinicians, and further research is needed to determine the ideal approach.

Also uncertain is whether some, or most, RLS patients would be better managed without the initial introduction of a dopaminergic drug. As discussed above, recent evidence has demonstrated the efficacy of pregabalin as an alternative to dopaminergic agents for at least 1 year; however, the majority of clinicians still prescribe a dopaminergic agent at the time of diagnosis. Rigorous randomized studies of long-term treatment are needed to determine what initial strategy is most suited to alleviate symptoms throughout the course of this frequently chronic illness.

Mirtazapine 30mg Giving Me Restless Legs Which Drives Me Crazy


When i take my mirtazapine at night it makes my insomnia a lot worse, the feelings in my feet and legs drives me crazy, but when I drink alcohol, which is once a week I don’t get the restless legs. I have explained this to my doctor and she said I shouldn’t drink whilst on them, but if don’t drink once a week I never get any sleep. My doctor says it’s the alcohol giving me restless legs, but I know its the mirtazapine. The tablets do make me want to sleep, but the restless legs keeps me awake.

1 like, 11 replies

  • I suffer with restless legs and arms!

    Horrible!!! Have you potassium checked.

    I suffer all my life with restless legs and arm.

    Ask to go on baclofen it helps with the RLS.

    You need to tell your Dr to pull his fingers


  • Posted 6 years ago

    Do you think this might help? I only get restless legs off my mirtazapine. And thanks for your help.

  • Posted 6 years ago

    Mirtazapine gave me restless legs for a year, until my doc added Pregabalin to my medication. Big improvement – no restless legs or similar feelings now.

  • Posted 6 years ago

    Ok, thanks. I don’t know how you managed to go a year with these terrible feelings, it’s horrible.

  • Primary Restless Legs Syndrome

    Primary restless legs syndrome tends to begin slowly, around the age of 40. This is earlier than most secondary RLS cases. RLS also runs in families, suggesting a genetic link.

    There is research that suggests restless legs syndrome may be connected to problems with a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which uses dopamine to control muscle movement. If transmission of dopamine signals in this part of the brain becomes impaired, it can result in muscle spasms and jerky movements.

    Warnings For People With Certain Health Conditions

    For people with a history of mania or bipolar disorder: Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. Mirtazapine may trigger a mixed or manic episode.

    For people with seizures: Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. This drug may make your condition worse. If you have a seizure while taking mirtazapine, talk to your doctor. They will decide if you should stop taking it. You may need to stop taking this drug right away, or your dosage may slowly be lowered over time to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

    For people with heart problems: If you have a history of certain heart problems, talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. These heart problems include angina , heart attack, or stroke. Mirtazapine can cause low blood pressure, which can make heart problems worse.

    For people with glaucoma or other eye problems: This drug may dilate your pupils. This may trigger a glaucoma attack. Before you take this drug, tell your doctor if you have glaucoma.

    For people with kidney problems: If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the amount of mirtazapine in your body and cause more side effects.

    For people with liver problems: If you have liver problems or a history of liver disease, you may not be able to process this drug as well. This may increase the amountof mirtazapine in your body and cause more side effects.

    Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome

    There is often no cure for primary restless legs syndrome, though its symptoms can be managed to make the condition easier to live with.

    If restless legs syndrome is caused by a condition or medication, symptoms may go away and not return if the condition is cured or the causative medication is stopped. For example:

    • RLS caused by pregnancy typically ends within four weeks after giving birth
    • Treating iron deficiency with iron supplements may cause an associated RLS to go away
    • RLS caused or made worse by a medication may be treated by stopping or changing medication, after consultation with a medical professional

    Good to know: Stopping taking or changing any prescribed medication, without first seeking medical advice, can lead to serious health problems.

    Beware: There Are Other Diseases That Can Mimic Restless Legs Syndrome:

    Other conditions can mimic RLS. Peripheral neuropathy can present with burning sensations or pain and numbness; however, there is no urge to move, no relief with movement, and no circadian rhythmicity. Nocturnal leg cramps usually manifest with sudden muscular tightness/contraction that can be palpable and relieved by walking, but there is no urge to move. In neuroleptic-induced akathasia, there is an urge to move the entire body because of restlessness but no sensory discomfort and no circadian rhythmicity. Akathasia is not worse at rest.

    With painful legs and moving toes, there is an urge to move the feet with repetitive movement of the toes but no circadian pattern. Hypnic jerks or sleep starts are sudden onsets of jerks at sleep onset that affect the legs; these can be associated with a sensation of falling. Finally, complex quiescegenic nocturnal dyskinesia consists of abnormal involuntary periodic movement with a circadian pattern but no discomfort or urge to move the legs.

    Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome

    There are a number of factors that appear to be linked to restless legs syndrome. These may include:

    Iron deficiency anemia

    A lack of iron in the body, leading to iron deficiency anemia, appears to be linked to restless legs syndrome. Iron plays a role in the functioning of dopamine and other neurotransmittersâ function in the brain.

    Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy

    Pregnant women may develop restless legs syndrome, with symptoms more common in the final trimester. Between 10 percent and 25 percent of pregnant women are thought to experience symptoms.

    Nobody is quite sure why pregnancy can trigger restless legs syndrome. There are suggestions it may be connected to:

    • Low iron levels
    • Circulation problems
    • Increase in estrogen

    Restless legs syndrome that develops during pregnancy very often goes away within a month after birth.

    Conditions often observed alongside restless legs syndrome

    There are several conditions that can lead to restless legs syndrome as a complication, or have been linked to it, sometimes without yet fully understanding the mechanisms behind the link, such as:

    • End-stage kidney disease, particularly when needing dialysis
    • Nerve damage. This includes peripheral neuropathy, which may itself be a complication caused by diabetes
    • Spinal cord disease
    • Smoking tobacco

    Warnings For Other Groups

    For pregnant women: Mirtazapine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  • Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  • There havent been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.
  • For women who are breastfeeding: Mirtazapine may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

    For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, higher amounts of a drug stay in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects, such as confusion or drowsiness.

    For children: It isnt known if mirtazapine is safe and effective for children younger than 18 years.

    All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

    • your age
    • how severe your condition is
    • other medical conditions you have
    • how you react to the first dose

    Is The Patient Iron Deficient

    Memory loss from too many medicines.

    Iron deficiency has a clear association with RLS, although the pathophysiology is not well understood . Both at the time of diagnosis and when addressing an unexpected deterioration in treatment efficacy, iron studies should be obtained . In addition to serum ferritin, iron and total iron-binding capacity should also be tested because ferritin can be falsely elevated in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions . Iron supplementation has been shown to reduce RLS symptoms even in patients with lownormal ferritin . Patients should be prescribed oral ferrous sulfate supplementation to achieve ferritin >50 ng/mL. The transferrin saturation should be maintained at >20 %. Other than menstruating women, those who are found to be iron deficient should also be referred for medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause of iron deficiency.

    Are Comorbidities Influencing Symptoms

    RLS shares many features of chronic pain disorders, including the tendency to be exacerbated by concomitant psychiatric and medical conditions. Psychiatric conditions in particular are highly prevalent among RLS patients. The lifetime prevalence of depression has been reported to be 37 % in RLS patients versus 15 % in a control group . As depression is associated with immobility due to excessive time lying in bed, low energy, psychomotor retardation, or social avoidance, the mood disturbance may predispose to RLS symptoms. In addition to pharmacologic treatments directed towards the mood disorder, cognitive behavioral methods directed towards coping with the chronic illness of RLS are encouraged .

    Time On Remeron When People Have Restless Leg Syndrome *:

    • < 1 month: 50.0 %
  • Nausea : 8 people, 8.51%
  • Sleep Disorder: 7 people, 7.45%
  • High Blood Pressure: 5 people, 5.32%
  • Mood Swings : 5 people, 5.32%
  • Psychotic Disorder: 5 people, 5.32%
  • Bipolar Disorder : 4 people, 4.26%
  • The Flu : 4 people, 4.26%
  • Panic Disorder: 4 people, 4.26%
  • * Approximation only. Some reports may have incomplete information.

    What Is The Prognosis For Patients Managed In The Recommended Ways

    Loss of efficacy can be seen in up to 46 percent of patients during long-term treatment of RLS with dopaminergic agents, perhaps because of down regulation of the dopamine receptors. Tolerance does not lead to an increase or extension of symptoms to other body parts, compared to baseline.

    RLS can progress, especially if the onset of disease happens in patients older than age forty-five, but the disease progression is usually slow. A reduction in dopaminergic therapy will worsen the symptoms, in contrast to RLS patients who experience augmentation. Augmentation is a complication that can arise during long-term dopaminergic administration, probably because of intense dopaminergic stimulation of D1 receptors compared to D2 receptors. Augmentation may be difficult to differentiate from fluctuation of RLS symptoms. Duration of treatment, iron deficiency, and sleep deprivation are risk factors for augmentation.

    Rebound is the reappearance of RLS symptoms after the medication has worn off such that the RLS symptoms occur late at night or early in the morning after the evening dose is no longer effective. Switching to another dopaminergic medication with a longer half life, such as Pergolide or Cabergoline will be efficacious. However, high cumulative doses and long-term therapy with Cabergoline in patients with Parkinsons disease has been associated with cardiac vavulopathy.

    Warning Disclaimer Use For Publication

    WARNING: Please DO NOT STOP MEDICATIONS without first consulting a physician since doing so could be hazardous to your health.

    DISCLAIMER: All material available on is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. All information is observation-only. Our phase IV clinical studies alone cannot establish cause-effect relationship. Different individuals may respond to medication in different ways. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. The use of the eHealthMe site and its content is at your own risk.

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    Diagnosis Of Restless Legs Syndrome

    These are the diagnostic criteria for RLS, published by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group . All five criteria are required for the diagnosis:

    An urge to move the legs, usually caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs. Sometimes the urge to move is present without the sensations, and sometimes the arms or other body parts are involved as well as the legs.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs begin, or become worse while resting.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs are partially or totally eased by moving. Relief lasts as long as the movement continues.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs are worse in the evening or night, or only happen in the evening or night.

    Symptoms are not explained by another medical or behavioral condition.

    Check whether this matches your symptoms with the Ada app.

    A doctor will diagnose based on a description of symptoms and triggers. A physical and/or neurological exam may be done, a family history taken and possibly blood tests to look for underlying factors or other treatable conditions.

    A sleep study may be helpful to check for sleep disruption and periodic limb movement in sleep.

    The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation produces an RLS Symptom Diary which can be printed off and used to track symptoms, activities and sleep patterns. RLS-UK also has a tool to help affected people monitor symptoms and medication.

    Are You Sure Your Patient Has Restless Legs Syndrome What Should You Expect To Find

    RLS patients usually present with sleep disturbancethat is, initiation and/or maintenance insomniasince RLS is more common during the evening or night. Insomnia is the most common reason for consult among RLS patients. Some RLS patients can also present with complaint of disagreeable feeling in the legs, some leg pain, and/or the inability to stay still or get comfortable or with fatigue. RLS is usually triggered by long periods of inactivity, such as plane travel or car rides. The prevalence of RLS ranges around 5-10 percent in the general population and is more frequent among women and Caucasians than among men and members of other races. RLS remains a clinical diagnosis.

    Primary RLS has an early onset , tends to be familial and is less responsive to iron treatment, while secondary RLS has a late onset , is more rapidly progressive and sporadic, tends to be strongly affected by serum ferritin, and is associated with other medical conditions as listed above.

    The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group developed essential diagnostic criteria for RLS:

    Some supportive criteria can also be helpful in the diagnosis of RLS: A positive family history of RLS, especially in patients with early onset RLS; the presence of increased periodic leg movements during sleep since the prevalence of PLMS can be higher than 80 percent in RLS patients; and improvement in symptoms with dopaminergic therapy, which is seen in more than 90 percent of RLS patients.

    Which Medications Can Cause Rls Pharmacological Perspectives

    A basic understanding of the possible mechanisms involved in RLS will help us understand why certain classes of medications are more likely to induce or precipitate RLS than others. Although the exact mechanism of RLS is still unknown, several lines of evidence from neuroimaging, neuropathology, CSF, and genetic linkage studies favor altered brain iron-dopamine mechanisms. This association is supported by human studies of striatal D2 receptors and iron reduction, increased nigral tyrosine hydroxylase, reduced CSF ferritin, and human genome-wide association studies implicating linkages to several susceptible loci. Abnormal iron stores have been correlated with altered central neurotransmitter systems, as dopamine production requires ferritin as a cofactor for tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine production. Furthermore, recent evidence also suggests that there is a probable association of peripheral tissue hypoxia and dopaminergic neurons outside of the blood-brain barrier and RLS. The above evidence supports the understanding that RLS is a network disorder that involves many regions of the nervous system, from the periphery to the cortex, and contains structures that are involved in somatosensory perception as well as the generation of movement.


    2)Dopamine receptor blocking agents



    Clinical Evaluation And Follow


    Severity of RLS was evaluated on the basis of the International RLS Rating Scale . The diagnosis and severity of insomnia, anxiety, and depression in all patients were assessed by two neurologists and a psychiatrist according to the Insomnia Severity Index , Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale , Hamilton Depression Rating Scale , and DSM-5 diagnostic criteria combined with clinical symptoms and signs. Follow-up data for all patients with RLS were obtained during face-to-face or telephone interviews.

    Clinical Research Flow

    The clinical study flow is shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1 Large doses of Madapor.

    Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome

    The main symptom of RLS is an overwhelming urge to move the legs because of uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings in one or both legs.

    The sensations in the legs and, in severe cases, the arms are variously described as:

    • Crawling
    • Tenseness
    • Having an electric current

    Some people may experience the feelings as painful, but most people feel the sensations as an ache rather than sharp or sudden pain.

    Which Individuals Are At Greatest Risk Of Developing Restless Legs Syndrome

    RLS is more common in women and older individuals than in men and younger people. More than 40 percent of RLS cases are hereditary.

    Secondary RLS is most commonly found in patients with iron deficiency. RLS has been described in patients who were iron-deficient as a result of malignancy, partial gastrectomy, or blood donation. RLS patients also have decreased ferritin levels compared to controls, even when they have the same hemoglobin levels as controls. Patients with serum ferritin less than 50µg/L experience more severe RLS. Iron therapy has a beneficial impact on RLS symptoms.

    RLS has been found in about 26 percent of pregnant women when stringent criteria from the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group were applied, and RLS symptoms increase from preconception to the third trimester. Pregnant women are two to three times more likely to develop RLS than are non-pregnant women. When compared to a pregnant control group, pregnant women with RLS have lower ferritin and folate levels. RLS remits post-partum in most women but might be persistent in some, which suggests that pregnancy is a risk factor for developing RLS.

    RLS is common in patients with end-stage renal disease. RLS can occur before or after installation of dialysis treatment, whether hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. In those patients, an association was found between RLS and anemia with a positive response to epoetin alpha. RLS can improve or even resolve after successful renal transplantation.

    Triggers That May Worsen Rls

    October 4, 2018 Know Your Triggers A trigger is a stimulus that causes a worsening of your RLS. Certain foods, beverages, medicines, e…

    Know Your Triggers

    A trigger is a stimulus that causes a worsening of your RLS. Certain foods, beverages, medicines, excessive stress or exercise can be the source of a trigger. Triggers can vary from one person to another and even among members of the same family. For example, caffeine may be a trigger for one person but not another. All individuals with RLS can benefit from learning what triggers their RLS in order to avoid these substances.

    Some common RLS triggers reported by individuals with RLS include:

    Sleep Habits

    Sleep deprivation is known to worsen RLS symptoms. Good sleep habits such as maintaining a cool, dark sleeping environment, removing electronics from the bedroom to limit exposure to blue light and adhering to a schedule of bed and wake times are key to a restful nights sleep.


    Drugs in the antipsychotic , anti-nausea and antidepressant medication classes are often the culprit for a worsening case of RLS. You should never discontinue use of a medication without consulting your healthcare provider, the RLS Foundations Medical Bulletin contains suggestions for safe alternatives to these medications to share with your physician. If you have an upcoming surgery, it is helpful to alert your surgical team to which medications they should avoid so they are prepared.

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