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What Antidepressants Do Not Cause Restless Leg Syndrome

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What Medications Do You Usually Recommend What Are The Possible Side Effects

Treatment For Restless Leg Syndrome

Dopamine medication can help, but can occasionally have the side effect of the body getting used to it if taken at high doses. Another class of medication is related to gabapentin, a medication historically used for seizures. There are some new medications such as Neupro, a dopamine patch you place on your skin instead of swallowing as a pill. Horizant is a new gabapentin/neurontin-related medication that needs less adjusting of doses compared to older medications.

Pain relievers dont work for RLS. If they help, you probably have something else. I have had many people take over-the-counter sleep aids. Benadryl is an ingredient in most of these treatments and makes RLS symptoms worse. Then they take even higher doses and it sets off a bad spiral. Other medications that make it worse: dopamine antagonists, lithium carbonate, antidepressants such as tricyclics, SSRIs . Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that is an exception and has not been

shown to increase symptoms of RLS.

Are There Any Nutritional Supplements That Might Help

If you are low in iron, a good supplement would be iron for a few months to see if that helps. Iron can cause GI upset, though, so I only recommend it for people who are low in iron. Magnesium is being studied right now as a treatment, but there isnt enough data to offer it as an official treatment.

Do Antidepressants Cause Restless Leg Syndrome

Antidepressants and other psychiatric medications can cause a range of side effects. Sometimes its nausea and headaches that fade after youve been on a new medication for a couple of weeks. Other times the side effects are downright miserable and dont go away until your doctor has you change medications completely.

But what about restless leg syndrome? Or, if youre taking an antipsychotic medication, a new eye twitch that might point to the movement disorder tardive dyskinesia? Though more research is needed, heres what to know if you think your mental health medications are causing movement-related symptoms, including restless leg syndrome.

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Antihistamines Made My Restless Legs Worse Than Ever

My prescriber decided the answer to my problems was to double my SSRI dose. She also put me on an antihistamine that is supposed to help with sleep. Oh, boy, did that backfire. A couple of days after starting the new meds and doses, I was not only continuing to wake up at night, but my restless legs were worse than ever, even worse than when I was pregnant.

Id done everything right. Id walked that day. Id had a sensible dinner. I had taken my magnesium. I had good sleep hygiene. But at 3 AM, I was tossing and turning and writhing and aching and wiggling and shaking and tightening and raging. I got up and did some squats. I got some fresh air. I stretched and did some hip range of motion movements. Nothing helped.

What Antidepressant Does Not Aggravate Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome

farmerswife over a year ago


Guest over a year ago

over a year ago

In reply to marti on 2012-11-20 – click to read

over a year ago


I suddenly started with this RLS problem. Then I checked out this site. I quit the St. John’s wort I had been taking three times a day and the problem has subsided. I was taking the Research Grade as prescribed. So, It must be true that something that affects seratonin which, I believe tamps down dopamine will do this. It is scary. As movement disorders from medication can become permanent. I would stay away from Ldopa or the others that help RLS as they , as far as I can gather from reading about this up dopamine. Maybe wrong, but experience is the best teacher.

Trying to cope with mild depression and anxiety with upbeat thinking and exercise.

Once I took Celexa for six years and woke up one morning with my little finger on my right hand moving and it did not stop for days. I took benedryl finally and it stopped. But, needless to say, this scared me big time. Then I went to St. John’s Wort. Must be careful with that too.

I quit all meds and am trying my best to get by without. I know for some this is not easy.

Good Luck To All Of You

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I Have These Other Health Conditions How Can I Best Manage Them Together

If you also have depression, you may be on a medication that worsens RLS symptoms. Dont stop it by yourself, but ask your doctor if another kind of antidepressant can work instead. Buproprion is an antidepressant that can help RLS symptoms in some cases.

People with RLS dont sleep as much, and less sleep is linked to depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. But it is hard to treat high blood pressure without addressing the sleep problem, too. Unfortunately, sleep is often ignored in these patients.

Weighing My Mental Health Against My Need For Sleep

As much as I try to get off my phone in the middle of the night, I had to take to the internet. I started reading articles about SSRIs and restless legs. I found out many doctors dont recommend antihistamines for people with severe restless legs. I thought Id be immune. I thought my restless legs werent that bad. I thought my need for mental health was greater than a little wiggling at night. But this was out of control. The lack of sleep made everything worse, too.

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What Is Restless Leg Syndrome

Contrary to its name, restless leg syndrome is best characterized as a neurological sensory disorder that causes both sleep and movement issues. Restless leg syndrome affects 7 to 10% of people in the U.S. It can range in severity, frequency and sensation, and typically features hallmark symptoms including:

  • Uncomfortable sensations in the legs that may be described as throbbing, crawly, creeping or achy
  • Irresistible need to move the legs, which temporarily relieves the uncomfortable leg sensations
  • Appears at night and the discomfort makes it difficult to sleep
  • Typically affects one or both legs, but can also involve the arms and less commonly the head or chest
  • People often experience a time in the early morning hours without symptoms

You can explain creepy-crawly cramps in your legs, but that doesnt convey the true misery of restless legs, shared Mighty contributor Simone Yemm, adding:

The urge to move the legs is unbearable. Yes, you can hold back for a while, just like you can hold your breath for a while. Eventually, one way or the other, your body is going to force you to take action. There is no arguing with inherent biology. The worse the RLS, the more urgent, incessant and frequent the need to move.

The First Step In Treating Restless Legs Syndrome

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome Without Drugs (10 Professional Suggestions)

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.

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What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome

The cause of restless leg syndrome isnt known for sure, and the source of the condition may vary between people who have it. Theres some evidence it may be caused by genetic factors while certain lifestyle factors such as iron deficiency, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine seem to aggravate it. It can also be a symptom of another condition like neuropathy or end-stage renal disease. RLS also often occurs with or starts before the onset of a mental health condition.

However, a body of evidence suggests a connection between restless legs and issues in the basal ganglia area of the brain, which relies on the chemical dopamine to help regulate your movements. A loss of dopamine is the main cause of Parkinsons disease, a progressive disorder that most noticeably causes tremors, gait changes and other movement-related symptoms.

Finding The Right Treatment Plan For Me

I sent a 4:30 AM email to my prescriber. She called me the next day. I told her about my amateur research and she corroborated it. My best friend, a psychiatrist, while not giving me medical advice per se, had validated my feelings about being frustrated with the balance between restless legs and mental health.

My prescriber and I came up with a plan for me to step down from the SSRI. I could stop the antihistamine without issue but needed to be mindful about getting off an SSRI without feeling like absolute garbage. In about a week, Ill start a new drug, one that has good data about RLS and anxiety and depression coverage.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

There is significant overlap between some of the symptoms and treatments for RLS and attention deficit hyperactive disorder . Up to a quarter of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may also have RLS, sleep apnea, or PLMD. These conditions may actually contribute to inattentiveness and hyperactivity. The disorders have much in common, including poor sleep habits, twitching, and the need to get up suddenly and walk about frequently. Some evidence suggests that the link between the diseases may be a deficiency in the brain chemical dopamine.

Dopamine And Extrapyramidal Side Effects

Restless Leg Syndrome Medication Side Effects

Antidepressants arent the only medication that can cause RLS. Antipsychotic medications, which are designed to block dopamine, also increase the likelihood youll develop restless leg syndrome, as well as other movement-related side effects called extrapyramidal side effects.

Extrapyramidal side effects of psychiatric medications refer to movement issues, including tremor and slowed movements,Robert Wisner-Carlson, M.D., medical director of the Neuropsychiatry Outpatient Program and service chief of the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Unit at Sheppard Pratt, told The Mighty. He added:

These side effects can present differently in different patient populations and age groups. For example, an otherwise young healthy adult may have a mild tremor at rest, whereas an older person may have an unsteady gait and lean to one side. EPS can also present as sustained muscle contractions and a restlessness termed akathisia.

These movement symptoms occur most frequently when youre taking first-generation antipsychotics or some second-generation antipsychotic drugs. While antipsychotics are often prescribed to people with schizophrenia, theyre also used to treat bipolar disorder and boost the effects of antidepressants. Depending on the medication, the rate of extrapyramidal side effects can affect anywhere from 7 to 30% of patients taking these medications, Dr. Wisner-Carlson said.

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Medications For Restless Legs Syndrome

Daily medication is usually recommended only for people who have symptoms of restless legs syndrome at least three nights a week, or as determined by your doctor. Keep in mind that drugs used to treat primary RLS do not cure the condition, but only relieve symptoms. People whose RLS symptoms occur sporadically may be prescribed medication to take only when they have symptoms.

The following medications are the most widely prescribed to treat RLS. They may be given alone or, in certain cases, in combination. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment plan for you.

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Risk Factors For Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

About 6% of the general population has PLMD. However, the prevalence in older adults is much higher, reaching almost 60%. Studies suggest that PLMD may be especially common in older women. As with RLS, there are many conditions that are associated with PLMD. They include sleep apnea, spinal cord injuries, stroke, narcolepsy, and diseases that destroy nerves or the brain over time. Certain drugs, including some antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, may also contribute to PLMD. About a third of people with PLMD also have RLS.

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Environmental And Dietary Factors

The following environmental and dietary factors can trigger or worsen RLS:

  • Iron deficiency. People who are deficient in iron are at risk for RLS, even if they do not have anemia.
  • Folic acid or magnesium deficiencies.
  • Smoking.
  • Caffeine. Coffee drinking is specifically associated with PLMD.
  • Stress.

Drugs that may worsen or provoke RLS include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Metoclopramide
  • Antihistamines
  • Spinal anesthesia

Levodopa And Other Dopaminergic Drugs

Restless Leg Syndrome: Triggers, Home Remedies and Treatment | Andy Berkowski, MD

Dopaminergic drugs increase the availability of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain and are one of the first-line treatments for severe RLS and PLMD. These drugs reduce the number of limb movements per hour and improve the subjective quality of sleep. People with either condition who take these drugs have experienced up to 100% initial reduction in symptoms.

Dopaminergic drugs, however, can have severe side effects . They do not appear to be as helpful for RLS related to dialysis as they do for RLS from other causes.

Dopaminergic drugs include dopamine precursors and dopamine receptor agonists.

Dopamine Precursors

The dopamine precursor levodopa was once a popular drug for severe RLS, although today it is usually recommended only for patients with occasional symptoms who may take it nightly as needed. It may also be helpful for long car rides or plane trips. The standard preparations combine levodopa with carbidopa, which improves the action and duration of levodopa and reduces some of its side effects, particularly nausea. Levodopa combinations are well tolerated and safe.

Levodopa acts fast, and the treatment is usually effective within the first few days of therapy.

A rebound effect causes increased leg movements at night or in the morning as the dose wears off, or as tolerance to the drug builds up.


Side Effects

Long-term use of dopaminergic drugs can lead to tolerance, in which the drugs become less effective.

Withdrawal Symptoms

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Primary Or Idiopathic Rls

Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown.

It is the most common type and has the following characteristics:

  • It usually begins before the age of 40.
  • It can start as early as childhood.
  • It may have a genetic cause.
  • Once primary RLS starts, it tends to be lifelong.

Symptoms may be sporadic, or gradually worsen and become more prevalent over time.

In mild cases, the person may have no symptoms for a long time.

Abnormalities Of Iron Metabolism

Iron deficiency, even at a level too mild to cause anemia, has been linked to RLS in some people. Some research suggests that RLS in some people may be due to a problem with getting iron into cells that regulate dopamine in the brain. Some studies have reported RLS in a quarter to a third of people with low iron levels.

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What Does It Feel Like

A person with RLS has a strange and unpleasant sensation in the legs, and sometimes the arms, and a strong urge to move them. People have described these feelings as:

  • aching
  • tugging
  • tingling

The only way to relieve the discomfort is by moving the legs. The sensations tend to occur when the individual is resting or inactive, and not only during the night. Symptoms often worsen in the evening and at night, and may be relieved for a short while in the morning.

My Rls Is Real And My Mental Well

Restless Legs Syndrome

My prescriber double-checked my latest lab work to make sure my iron was okay and didnt seem all that pleased with having to change my plan again. I dont care. Sleep is precious. My mental well-being is precious. They are connected.

I thought my RLS wasnt severe enough to impact the other areas of my health. Im frustrated that I have to modify my medicine to accommodate my restless legs, a condition that, until recently, I thought wasnt even real. Its real. Its making itself known. But Im the captain of my ship, not my legs. I will find a way home to my truest, best, most effective and peaceful self.

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What Antidepressants Cause Restless Leg Syndrome

. In respect to this, what medications aggravate restless leg syndrome?

certain medications that may aggravate RLS symptoms, such as antinausea drugs , antipsychotic drugs , antidepressants that increase serotonin , and some cold and allergy medications that contain

can venlafaxine cause restless leg syndrome? It is observed as a side effect related to the administration of antidepressants in 9% of patients. A case reporting restless legs syndrome symptoms associated with venlafaxine 75 mg/day is decribed. Based on this report, venlafaxine should be added to the list of agents that can induce restless legs syndrome.

Keeping this in consideration, can SSRIs cause restless leg syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome induced by escitalopram: case report and review of the literature. Certain antidepressant drugs, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , may induce or exacerbate RLS.

Does citalopram cause restless leg syndrome?

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this case report is to create awareness on restless legs syndrome among clinicians working in emergency units. CONCLUSION: This case report suggests that RLS could be considered as a possible “dopamine-dependent side effect” of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors .

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