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Can Quinine Help Restless Leg Syndrome

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No Drinking Tonic Water Isnt A Proven Method To Alleviate Restless Legs Syndrome

A Facebook post that’s been shared over 55,000 times claims that a little trick before bed each night may cure your restless legs syndrome. 

The post reads: 

“Restless Legs Syndrome: Drink a 6-ounce glass of tonic water each night before bed until symptoms go away. Tonic water contains quinine, which stops repeated muscle contractions -Paul Lyons, MD.”

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

While medical experts say it’s probably not harmful to consume a small cup of tonic water each night, it’s not scientifically proven to help cure or alleviate restless legs syndrome, a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually at night or while lying down.

Prevention Magazine, a healthy lifestyle magazine published by the Hearst Corporation, is listed as the source of the post. We found a 2016 article from the magazine titled “14 Natural Ways To Deal With Restless Legs Syndrome.”

About halfway through the Prevention Magazine article, the tonic water method is mentioned:

It continues to cite a medical consultant from the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation who said that although it may not be supported by science, a home remedy that couldn’t hurt and could help is worth a try.

Featured Fact-check

Most medical professionals also say people shouldn’t rely on the tonic water tactic.

“Drinking a few ounces of tonic water shouldn’t be harmful, but it isn’t likely to prevent your leg cramps.” 

Restless Leg Syndrome :: How Many Times Do You Wake Up Per Night

I’m curious, I’m still trying to determine whether I have RLS or just normal insomnia. Here are my questions if you would be so kind;Are you waking up at totally random times at night or do you wake up at the same time every night?How many times do you wake up per night?Can you feel it’s due to leg movement?

What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Leg Syndrome

Many different symptoms are described by people with restless leg syndrome, for example:

  • leg pain,
  • burning, and
  • aching.

The characteristic nighttime worsening of symptoms in persons with restless legs syndrome frequency leads to insomnia. Because of lack of sleep, children and some adults may be very drowsy, irritable, and aggressive during daytime hours.

Restless leg syndrome usually begins slowly. Over time, the legs become more affected. Less frequently, restless leg syndrome can affect the arms.

What Is The Treatment For Restless Leg Syndrome Is There A Cure

Treatment of restless leg syndrome is first directed toward any underlying illness, if known. For example:

  • Blood testing to reveal underlying iron deficiency anemia may reveal the underlying cause.
  • If varicose veins are thought to be the cause, then surgery to repair the circulation may be considered.
  • Reduction or elimination of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol from a person’s diet can be very helpful.
  • Stopping smoking can significantly diminish or prevent symptoms.
  • Getting better sleep and exercise can help some persons affected by restless legs.
  • Pregnant women who do not sleep well at night and other people with sleep disorders may develop RLS.

There is no cure for restless leg syndrome; however, the condition usually responds well to home remedies and medications. The outlook is excellent for people with restless leg syndrome as long as it does not weaken or damage the function of the legs.

Why Quinine Sulfate Is A Treatment For Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome help: drinking a half cup of tonic ...

Quinine sulfate is a known muscle relaxant that has been used for many years to help relax tense muscles and relieve muscle cramps. It also helps people who are suffering from involuntary muscle contractions. These attributes make it the perfect choice for treating the muscle cramps that affect many sufferers of restless leg syndrome.

There are a variety of symptoms that can occur with restless leg syndrome, but leg cramps can be the most annoying and painful. Waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps is not anyone’s idea of fun. The pain of leg cramps can range from mild to excruciating and one of the most effective ways to deal with leg cramps is by taking quinine sulfate.

While full strength quinine sulfate must be prescribed by a licensed physician there are over the counter medications that have trace amounts quinine sulfate in them. These trace amounts of quinine sulfate are combined with vitamin to produce an over the counter supplement that can be used as a treatment for restless leg syndrome. The vitamin E is used to help promote oxygen flow to the leg muscles which also helps relieve muscle cramps and when combined with the quinine sulfate is quite effective at leg cramp relief and also helping to prevent future occurrences.

To learn more about quinine sulfate and other treatments for restless leg syndrome , its causes and coping strategies click here .

Quinine: Not To Be Used Routinely For Nocturnal Leg Cramps

Quinine should only be considered when cramps cause regular disruption of sleep.


Article date: June 2010

Quinine has been used in the UK for the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps for many years. Although patient response may vary, overall efficacy is modest. A meta-analysis of eight randomised placebo controlled trials reported that the mean number of cramps in a 4-week period while taking placebo was 17·08 and the absolute reduction in cramps while taking quinine was 3·6 . Hence patients had around 20% fewer cramps in this period—around 1 episode a week difference—when taking quinine compared with placebo.

What To Know About Tonic Water And Restless Legs Syndrome

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Restless legs syndrome causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs. It can also cause the irresistible urge to move the legs. This often happens in the afternoon or nighttime when a person is lying down or sitting. It can be very disruptive, especially when it happens at night. This can lead to daytime exhaustion and sleepiness.1

Nighttime leg cramps are common. They affect one-third of people over 60 from time to time. More than half of people over 80 experience them from time to time. Quinine has often been used to treat these leg cramps. Years ago, doctors often prescribed quinine pills. They also told people to drink tonic water because of its high levels of quinine.2

Adults Under Age 50 Had Threefold Greater Mortality Risk

Adults younger than age 50 treated with quinine for muscle cramps or restless leg syndrome had a threefold increased risk for death, according to results from a population-based study.

Treatment with quinine was associated with a less pronounced mortality increase in older adults, and there was a dose-response relationship, wrote Laurence Fardet, MD, PhD, of Frances’ University Paris-Est Cretei, and colleagues in JAMA.

Last year, the FDA once again warned against the off-label use of the malaria drug Qualaquin for the treatment of night-time leg cramps, noting that the treatment can cause life-threatening bleeding. FDA officialsa decade earlier in a report associating 93 deaths and 665 adverse outcomes with quinine use for these indications.

A Cochrane review in 2015 found “low quality evidence” that quinine treatment of 200 mg to 500 mg daily significantly reduces muscle cramp frequency, with “moderate quality evidence” that quinine reduces cramp intensity.

Fardet’s group noted that despite the safety warnings and questionable efficacy, quinine is still prescribed for the treatment of restless leg syndrome and other muscle cramp disorders.

The researchers also expressed concern that the widely consumed alcohol mixer beverages bitter lemon and tonic water, which contain quinine, could pose a risk to people who consume the drinks daily, although they cited no clinical evidence to back up the concern.


Establishing A Treatment Plan For Restless Legs Syndrome

When treating RLS, doctors must consider the severity of the condition and the extent to which it affects your quality of life. Due to the potential for side effects, doctors may prefer to avoid prescribing medication for mild symptoms that don’t interfere with day-to-day life.

Since RLS can occur on its own or as a result of another medical condition, treatment for RLS symptoms may need to be approached differently depending on the root cause. Before proceeding with RLS treatment, experts recommend looking for other conditions that could be causing or aggravating RLS symptoms. Common culprits include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Medication such as antihistamines and certain antidepressants

For many people, addressing these factors may lead to a drastic reduction in RLS symptoms. However, if symptoms are still bothersome, or if they interfere with sleep, doctors may advise additional remedies.

We Know You Wish Your Restless Legs Would Let You Sleep

January 19, 2021

Unpleasant sensations from Restless Legs Syndrome canoccur while sitting still or during sleep, causing an irresistible urge tomove.

What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?

RLSis also called Willis-Ekbom Disease. It is the most common movement disorder,characterized by an irresistible, often uncomfortable urge to move the legswhen at rest.

Youare not alone, RLS affects up to 10% of people in the U.S. Anyone can get it, butit is more common in women, and middle-aged people are more likely to havesevere symptoms.

What Are Common Symptoms of Restless Legs?

Atleast 80 percent of people with RLS have a related condition called periodiclimb movement of sleep . PLMS causes the legs to twitch or jerk duringsleep.

Thepattern of movements with RLS is intermittent throughout the night. You mightor might not notice your symptoms, but bed partners do tend to notice theexcessive movements.

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?

Somepeople have primary RLS, which has no known cause. About 70% of people with RLShave primary RLS. Others have secondary RLS, which is typically associated withnerve problems, pregnancy, iron deficiency, or chronic kidney failure.

Pregnancy,particularly the last trimester, can be a trigger for RLS symptoms.

How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Diagnosed?

Thereare four key points doctors use to diagnose RLS. They can be described usingthe word URGE.

How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated?

Medications That Increase Dopamine in TheBrain

A patch may be right for you

Strategies For The Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome

Not all patients with RLS need treatment. Patients with mild disease may not need drug therapy or other interventions, whereas those with severe symptoms may require multiple medical treatments. Similar to the approach for patients with back pain, therapeutic decisions should be based on the frequency and severity of symptoms and the disability that results from them. Several algorithms for guiding physicians on how to treat RLS have been developed and they all have fairly similar suggestions, which vary, mostly due to the availability and government approval of medications in the authors’ countries. Recommendations and suggestions for treating RLS in this article are based on 1 of the oldest of these algorithms , but they have been updated by currently available medication, interval medical literature, and the author’s clinical experience.

Is Restless Legs Syndrome Underdiagnosed Or Overhyped

Many websites and print articles describe RLS as common, underdiagnosed, and undertreated, encouraging people who experience the unpleasant condition to seek medical help.

But a 2006 Public Library of Science article, Giving Legs to Restless Legs: A Case Study of How the Media Helps Make People Sick, makes the case that RLS has been overhyped by drug-company marketing campaigns. They write: “For some people, symptoms are severe enough to be disabling. But for many others with milder problems, these ‘symptoms’ are just the transient experiences of everyday life.”

Restless Leg Syndrome After Having A Microdiscectomy


I’m 28 years old and am about 4 months out of surgery for my herniated disc now and have had no issues since, recently ran out of the Pain meds they had me on . I was off work for 2 months and have been working at my automobile factory for 2 months without any issues. The past two days I have had severe restless legs, while getting up and walking around helps, it gets bad even while at work. I haven’t been able to sleep and just feel plain discomfort. Like my back needs to be ‘cracked’ and severe pain also. I guess my question is, is this more than likely caused from my lack of pain meds or could it have been there since surgery and I haven’t noticed because of the meds? Doctor cut me off them and said I need to find a new job, but I think it can be fixed or handled so I can at least be comfortable. Also on the mri that showed the herniation there was a bulging disc. Could that have herniated as well? I am also on celexa lisinopril and adderall any advice is helpful to find out more. Have an appointment with a new doctor on the 14th would like to know what to say. I know people abuse narcotics and I don’t want my doctor to get the wrong impression.

What Are The Risks Of Using Quinine For Leg Cramps

Most of the serious side effects reported from the use of quinine have been in patients taking it off-label to treat leg cramps or RLS. Some of the more serious ones that can result in hospitalization, serious illness, and death include:

  • thrombocytopenia—decreased blood platelets
  • cardiac problems, including an abnormal heart rhythm
  • rashes and other allergic reactions
  • thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura—a rare, often fatal blood condition that causes clotting throughout the body
  • hearing problems
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • kidney failure
  • lung toxicity

Quinine can also interact with other medications, including antiarrhythmics ; digoxin; blood thinners; drugs to control seizures; and neuromuscular-blocking drugs .You should not take quinine if you have certain hereditary heart conditions, such as a prolonged QT interval ; an abnormal electrocardiogram ; or if you have or have ever had G-6-PD, or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, deficiency . Additionally, you should avoid quinine if you have myasthenia gravis , or optic neuritis , or if you have had an allergic reaction to quinine or similar medicines such as mefloquine or quinidine.Side effect symptoms to watch out for:Indicating low blood sugar

  • shakiness
  • sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • headaches
  • numbness or tingling around the mouth
  • weakness

Severe symptoms related to low blood sugar

  • confusion

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:


Restless Legs Syndrome :: Feet Jerk While Sleeping

I’m wondering if anybody else out there is affected by RLS in the same way I am.  It’s very specific.  Only when I’m falling asleep, my foot will jerk, sometimes rapidly, followed by the whole leg making a violent jerk.  There is no sleeping thru that.  Once it starts, I know I’m in for a long night because it does not stop.  Even if it does, then the other leg will start doing it.    This started in the early ’80’s with mild episodes 2 or 3 times a week but has increased strongly over the years.I have incredible empathy for anyone suffering from this affliction / curse and pray daily that the true cause will soon be identified. 

The 11 Best Treatments For Restless Legs Syndrome

William Morrison, M.D.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome , also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations, most often in the legs. These sensations have been described as tingly, crawling, creeping feelings, and cause the overwhelming urge to move the affected limb.

RLS symptoms typically occur when the person is sitting, resting, or sleeping, and often happen at night. The movements caused by RLS are called periodic limb movements of sleep . Because of these movements, RLS can cause serious sleep problems.

Some people have primary RLS, which has no known cause. Others have secondary RLS, which is typically associated with nerve problems, pregnancy, iron deficiency, or chronic kidney failure.

For most people with RLS, symptoms are mild. But if your symptoms are moderate to severe, RLS can have a big impact on your life. It can prevent you from sleeping enough, and thus cause problems with daytime focus and thinking, your job, and your social activities.

As a result of these problems, RLS can lead to anxiety and depression. And the longer you have the condition, the worse it can get. It can even spread to other parts of your body, such as your arms .

Here we list the best treatments for RLS. Some of these you can try on your own. Others you can discuss with your doctor, who can help you create a treatment plan to help relieve your RLS symptoms.

The First Step In Treating Restless Legs Syndrome

The first line of defense against restless legs syndrome is to avoid substances or foods that may aggrivate or worsen the problem. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. This may help relieve your symptoms. In addition, review all medications you are taking with your doctor to determine if any of these drugs could be causing the problem.

Any underlying medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, kidney disease, thyroid disease, varicose veins, or Parkinson’s disease, should be treated. Dietary supplements to correct vitamin or mineral deficiency may be recommended. For some people, these treatments are all that is needed to relieve RLS symptoms.

You may also benefit from physical therapy and self-care treatments, such as stretching, taking hot or cold baths, whirlpool baths, applying hot or cold packs to the affected area, limb massage, or vibratory or electrical stimulation of the feet and toes before bedtime. Exercise and relaxation techniques also may be helpful.


How Do You Know If You Have Restless Leg Syndrome

The National Institutes of Health says that four criteria must be met for the diagnosis of RLS in a person :

  • A strong urge to move your legs. This urge often, but not always, occurs with unpleasant feelings in your legs. When the disorder is severe, you also may have the urge to move your arms.
  • Symptoms that start or get worse when you’re inactive. The urge to move increases when you’re sitting still or lying down and resting.
  • Relief from moving. Movement, especially walking, helps relieve the unpleasant feelings.
  • Symptoms that start or get worse in the evening or at night.

Parkinson Progression With Restless Leg Syndrome

Started with a tremor in my hand last year saw a general neuro who thought its maybe related to chronic pain i suffer and to keep eye on it be re referred if it changes now it’s gone to my arms and legs my balance is poor keep falling over my muscles are stiff as a board i get tremors after using my muscles say even drying my hair and also i keep stiffening up so bad my body just wants to stretch itself out from head to toe worse during the night i have also started with restless leg syndrome i’m also getting confused and forgetful has anyone else experienced parkinsons onset like this i’m wondering wether to be referred back to a movement disorder specialist?

Is Restless Leg Syndrome Common During Pregnancy

Restless leg syndrome is relatively common during pregnancy, especially in the second half of pregnancy. While most medications used to treat restless leg syndrome have not been adequately studied in pregnant women, the non-medication treatments and techniques described above can be very helpful. Furthermore, avoiding caffeine, warm compresses, massage, and regular exercising according to the doctors’ suggestions can be helpful.

What Are Home Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome – I Tripped Over a Stone

Other treatments that have been helpful for some people with restless leg syndrome include:

  • Warm/cold baths
  • Acupuncture
  • Natural treatments such as quinine water at bedtime
  • Anxiety may trigger or increase RLS symptoms according to some researchers. Some people have experienced a decrease in anxiety by using over-the-counter products and natural home remedies and naturopathic treatments for anxiety, for example, lavender soap fumes or acupuncture. These natural treatments may reduce symptoms of RLS.
  • Some of these natural remedies to reduce symptom of restless leg syndrome and may cause side effects. Discuss any problems or side effects you have after using home remedies or alternative treatments for restless leg syndrome with your doctor.

    Powerful Herbal Remedy For Restless Leg Syndrome

    In 1861, German neurologist Theodor Wittmaack was describing a very peculiar case. His patient felt an unstoppable urge to move their legs restlessly, especially before falling asleep. Almost a century later, in 1945, Swedish neurologist Axel Ekbom managed to distinguish two forms relating to the condition. The first was paraesthesia, in which the patient described an irritating tingling that forced him to move his legs, especially when lying down. The latter was the algetic form, in which pain was the predominant manifestation of the condition, impeding proper sleep.

    Although they didn’t manage to find the exact cause of the latter called restless leg syndrome, they related it to stress, prolonged tension, and depression. There are no drugs that actually can cure RLS, but there are herbal home remedies for restless leg syndrome that has proven its efficiency.

    How to Use the Remedy

    The most effective natural medicine for restless leg syndrome uses a plant called Leonorus cardica, or common motherwort. This herb is one of the best home remedies for restless leg syndrome out there.

    • All you have to do is drink an infusion made from 2 tsp. of plant in 250 ml of boiling hot water.
    • Drink this tea three times every day and the results will soon come.
    You Can Find Motherwort Tea Here

    What Are More Natural Alternatives To Treat Rls

    Drugs can help reduce symptoms of RLS. There are also some lifestyle and behavior changes that might help improve symptoms. These include:9

    • Warm baths and massages to relax muscles
    • Warm or cold packs to reduce sensations in the legs
    • Reducing or cutting out caffeine, since this can make symptoms worse
    • Exercising early in the day
    • Getting enough sleep, since exhaustion can make symptoms worse

    Restless Leg Syndrome :: Requip Stopped Working

    Hello all and good wishes to all to find your cure for WED/RLS. Willis Ekbom Disease is really what this RLS is.Anyways I started on .25 mg of requip then it was upped each week then up to 1 mg. of requip. Now it’s horrendous and I rarely sleep. I found through research that Yes! they do use the benzos and gabapentin , and opioids for WED/RLS. Last night I was at the end of my rope and used my ativan and low dosage of dilaudid and actually slept for 4 hours without interruption!! My doc doesn’t understand and wants to try me now on Mirapex witch is another DA and may or more than likely NOT work. It’s a rough road, and I have done a lot of meds. I hope and Pray when I go to my doc next week I get some answers. As well he will NOT give me a ferritin test nor refer me to a neurologist.

    Nonpharmacological Therapy For Intermittent Rls

    The majority of patients with intermittent RLS symptoms have mild ones that typically do not require drug therapy. Nonpharmacological remedies are often sufficient to quell these patients’ symptoms.

    Alerting Activities

    Symptoms characteristically occur when patients are at rest both physically and mentally. Although the preferred activity to relieve symptoms is physical movement , it is not always possible . Mentally engaging activities, such as playing a video game, solitaire, chess, doing a crossword puzzle, or even having a mentally stimulating conversation can markedly reduce or eliminate RLS symptoms when the patient is sedentary, which is based on hundreds of anecdotal reports to the author and other RLS experts. However, patients report that passive activities, such as watching the in-flight movie provide no relief.

    Abstinence from Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol

    The literature is also not very supportive for the effect of nicotine/tobacco on RLS. An early case report described a 70-year-old patient with severe RLS who had a complete remission of symptoms 1 month after smoking cessation. No significant differences in the incidence of RLS was found in a 1997 epidemiological study between Canadian adult smokers and nonsmokers, whereas 2 other epidemiological studies both found an increased risk of RLS in smokers. However, in clinical practice, the effect of smoking on RLS has not been very noticeable.

    Avoid Medication That May Enhance RLS


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