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Does Quinine Help Restless Leg Syndrome

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Prescribing Remains High Despite Warnings

How Does Quinine Help Restless Legs

The FDA has issued warnings about quinine since 1994 and more recently about its minimal effectiveness in treating leg cramps. In 2006, it banned the sale of all unapproved drugs that contained quinine except the branded drug, Qualaquin, because of the risk of serious side effects or death. Yet in the first six months of 2008, more than 124,000 people in the U.S. received close to 300,000 prescriptions for Qualaquin, according to the FDA. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only about 1,500 individuals were diagnosed with malaria last year, it appears that quinine is still frequently prescribed off-label.Indeed, from January 2006 to June 2008, 62 percent of Qualaquin prescriptions were for musculoskeletal symptoms, mainly for nocturnal leg cramps. Of the 38 reports of serious adverse events received by the FDA in roughly the same time period, over half were from people who had taken quinine for leg cramps.

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 periodaround 1 episode a week differencewhen taking quinine compared with placebo.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

With transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation , a device sends small electrical currents to parts of your body to help relieve pain.

Theres not a lot of research on the use of TENS to treat RLS, but it could work.

The idea is that like the Relaxis vibrating pad, it uses counterstimulation. One study showed that regular use of TENS along with a vibration treatment completely relieved one mans RLS symptoms (

However, more research is needed to confirm acupuncture as a reliable treatment for RLS.

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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 didnt 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

Reap The Benefits Of Peppermint

11 Natural Cure For Restless Leg Syndrome

Peppermint has high menthol content that can help numb the restless feeling in your legs and provide pain relief to aching muscles.

  • Drink a cup of peppermint tea before going to bed to relax the muscles and promote restful sleep. In fact, 3 to 4 cups of peppermint tea in a day is considered healthy.
  • Alternatively, apply peppermint oil directly on the legs and then gently massage your legs for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help relieve tension.

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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 dont 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.

Other Conditions Associated With Restless Legs Syndrome

The following medical conditions are also associated with RLS, although the relationships are not clear. In some cases, these conditions may contribute to RLS. Others may have a common cause, or they may coexist due to other risk factors:

  • Osteoarthritis . About three-quarters of patients with RLS also have osteoarthritis, a common condition affecting older adults.
  • Varicose veins. Varicose veins occur in about 1 in 7 patients with RLS.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes may have higher rates of secondary RLS. Nerve pain related to their diabetes cannot fully explain the higher rate of RLS.
  • Hypertension .

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Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome In Children

The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medication for treating restless legs syndrome in children. The long-term effects of treating children with medication approved for adults are unknown.

Benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, are not recommended for children because they can increase the risk of collapse of the upper airway. Up to 20 percent of children taking levodopa and carbidopa develop a side effect of feeling nauseous.

Good sleep habits are recommended for treating restless legs syndrome in children, as is avoiding caffeine and antihistamines. Vitamin and mineral supplements may help, when taken in consultation with a doctor.

The 11 Best Treatments For Restless Legs Syndrome

Talking health: Quinine for leg cramps?

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.

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Vet Your Vitamin Intake

Folic acid, a type of vitamin B, is essential for forming new cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. A folic acid deficiency can play a role in RLS, so get your recommended daily dose from spinach, asparagus, lentils, and pinto beans, and other foods. Also speak with your doctor to find out if you have a vitamin deficiency that might be affecting your condition.

See Also: Which Nutrients Help Treat Restless Leg Syndrome?

Salome In Australia Shares Her Success In Treating Rls:

I was suffering from restless leg syndrome ;for over 6 years. Its worse at night, but I also suffer during the day. Going to the movies it was shocking.

I am 66 yrs old. Last weekend I started looking on the web;and came across someone who was;using tonic water. I tried it. I began drinking a 3/4 glass of Schweppes Tonic just before I sleep. What a find. What a gem. I sleep like a baby. No more restless legs at night nor during the day

I had pain down my leg in front and thats gone too. My;hubby is happy, I am happy and a HUGE thanks to Schweppes for putting some quinine in the tonic. If you know of anyone who;has RSL tell them to give it a go. I am loving my legs now.

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Where Else Can You Find Quinine

While a gin and tonic and vodka and tonic are staples at any bar, tonic water is becoming a more versatile beverage. Its now mixed with tequila, brandy, and just about any other alcoholic beverage. Citrus flavors are often added, so if you see the term bitter lemon or bitter lime, you know the drink includes tonic water with a sour fruit flavor added.

However, tonic water isnt just used to mix with spirits. Chefs may include tonic water in batter when frying seafood or in desserts that also include gin and other liquors.

Quinine For Muscle Cramps

What is the best way to stop

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of quinine on muscle cramps.


Muscle cramps can occur anywhere and in anyone; however, leg cramps are especially common in older people. Quinine is a medicine which has been used to treat cramps for many years. There is conflicting evidence for its ability to reduce cramps. Quinine can cause serious, even fatal adverse events, especially in overdosage.

Study characteristics

This review includes 23 trials, with 1586 participants. The trials compared quinine or quinine-based medicines against inactive treatment or other active treatments. We found no new studies when we searched the medical literature again and updated the review in 2014.

Key results and quality of the evidence

The risk of bias in the included trials varied considerably. All 23 trials claimed to be randomised, but many failed to clearly describe how participants were assigned to treatments. There is low quality evidence that quinine significantly reduces cramp number and cramp days and moderate quality evidence that quinine reduces cramp intensity. There is moderate quality evidence that there are more minor adverse events with quinine compared to placebo but no increase in major adverse events. However, there are reliable reports from other sources that an overdose of quinine can cause serious harm including death.

More research is needed to clarify the best dose and duration of treatment, as well as alternatives to quinine for cramps.

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When Does Restless Leg Syndrome Happen

Symptoms occur when the person is at rest or inactive, such as:

  • Lying down
  • In bed
  • In a restricted space, like on a plane or at the movies

As a person is more likely to be at rest in the afternoon and evening, those are the parts of day when RLS symptoms are usually at their worst. For some of those affected by RLS, the symptoms may only occur occasionally, while for others they are present every day.

Symptoms tend to improve in the mornings with getting up, and whenever the person starts to move or walk around. Moving around as a remedy can cause problems when the person is trying to go to sleep.

Symptoms can vary in severity, from mild discomfort to being so disruptive and painful they affect day-to-day life. Sleep can be so disturbed that people have difficulty functioning during the day, which can commonly lead to depression and anxiety.

Worried you may have RLS? Start a symptom assessment on the Ada app.

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

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Restless Legs Syndrome: Seeking Help

Studies estimate that one out of 10 people suffer from restless legs, yet its not always easy to find help and support. Many people with RLS never receive proper treatment. Part of the problem is that its hard to explain and sufferers are often dismissed as being nervous. Those who havent experienced the distressing symptoms may not understand how severely they can impact the quality of your life. Even doctors may not take restless legs seriously, recognize the symptoms, or realize that they point to a real medical condition.

The good news is that recent research has increased our understanding of restless legs syndrome, leading to more effective treatments. At the same time, RLS is becoming more widely recognized. If you or your partner suffers from restless legs, theres never been a better time to find relief.

A night in the life of RLS

If you have restless legs syndrome, a typical night might go like this: You lie down in bed, ready to go to sleep, and just as your body begins to relax, the crawling, tingling, or itching in your legs begin. You try to ignore the uncomfortable sensations, hoping they will go away, but eventually the urge to move is too much. You get out of bed to stretch and pace the floor and, for a moment, you find relief. But when you lie down again, the restless sensations in your legs start all over again.

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The First Step In Treating Restless Legs Syndrome

CBD and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – Does CBD Oil Help?

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 Parkinsons 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.

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Restless Legs Syndrome : : Exercise

Ive suffered RLS for 30-40 years now. I take Pramipexole. I offered to care for my daughters dog whilst she went on holiday. Its a Pug about 2 feet tall. In the space of about 3-4 days, I must have walked that dog 10-15 miles. I was devastated when she wanted him back. Apparently he slept for 2 days. The following day I developed left sided hip Bursitis. The pain was excruciating. After 4 days of this pain, at 3 in the morning, I dialled 111. A doctor told me to take paracetamol. Around 10am later that day, I dialled 111 again and was referred to a primary care doctor who prescribed 30-500 co-codamol. Two day afterwards, the pain began to subside to a dull ache and 2 weeks later, no pain at all. Wheres all this going. Between the Bursitis pain starting and now, I have suffered hardly any RLS. Occasionally a little in the afternoons but thats all. Apparently exercise helps to relieve RLS and I believe that is the case. However, Im wondering if prolonged intense exercise gives more prolonged relief. Be aware of other conditions though. Particularly cardiac related. Discuss with your GP. I have reduced my Pramipexole from 4 tablets at 17.30 to 2. Still no RLS. The moral of the story. Buy yourself a dog and walk the hell out of it. ;;;;;;

Treatment Options For Restless Leg Syndrome

Everyone wants to know how to stop restless leg syndrome immediately, but this is usually not possible. RLS is considered a lifelong disorder, but much can be done to minimize its impact on your daily life. Your doctor will determine if theres an underlying medical condition thats causing or worsening your symptoms and begin with treating that.

Although there are some drugs that can treat associated conditions, there is not a single drug thats useful for all cases. You and your doctor will need to work together to find the right combination of drugs and therapy to manage your individual case. In addition, there will need to be ongoing case management as symptoms wax or wane and if drugs become ineffective over time.

Options for treatment of RLS include the following:

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Hot And Cold Treatments

While theres not a lot of research backing up using heat and cold to relieve RLS symptoms, many healthcare organizations recommend it. They include the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation .

These organizations suggest taking a hot or cold bath before going to bed, or applying hot or cold packs to your legs .

Some peoples RLS symptoms are aggravated by cold, while others have problems with heat. This could explain the benefits of these hot or cold treatments.

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