|
Dover Post
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Is RLS interrupting your life?

    • email print
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is not a rare condition. It’s estimated to be present in approximately 6 to 7 percent of the population. It usually occurs as an isolated condition, but can be associated with other disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy and pregnancy. If RLS is present in pregnancy, symptoms usually go away after the pregnancy.
    The criteria to diagnose RLS are: an urge to move the legs with or without the presence of uncomfortable leg sensations; sensations are present or become worse while resting; relief takes place on movement of the legs, such as walking or stretching; and it occurs mainly at night.
    Severity of the symptoms vary from being a mild annoyance to significantly interrupting a person’s life. RLS frequently causes lack of sleep and this results in the person being tired the following day.
    Although there are various theories, the specific cause of RLS is not yet known. Therefore, treatment is not always effective.
    Studies have shown that there is usually a decrease in a chemical present in the body called dopamine. As a result of this finding, drugs are given to increase the amount of dopamine in hopes of decreasing symptoms.
    One such drug is Mirapex. Although it can be helpful, at times it becomes less effective the longer it is used.
    A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a study of 719 patients with moderate to severe RLS. These patients were given Mirapex or another drug, Lyrica, to determine if one was more effective than the other in the treatment of RLS. Lyrica is not associated with increasing the amount of dopamine.
    Results of the study showed that Lyrica was overall significantly more effective in treating RLS. The study lasted for a year and more research is needed to determine the long-term benefits and effects of this medication.
    Therefore, it appears that patients with RLS have another choice of treatment, especially if treatment with Mirapex has not been very effective. It is something that you should discuss with your doctor to determine what medication would be best for you.
    Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.

        calendar