Local News

Restless Leg Syndrome Can Make It Hard To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Posted May 3, 2002

— For people with restless leg syndrome, a good night's sleep is never a sure thing.

Jodi Telander lived with restless leg syndrome for 25 years before she knew what it was.

"Most people unfortunately don't realize what they've got," she said.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurologic problem that causes "creepy-crawly" sensations in the legs. Patients feel like they need to constantly move them, which makes it hard to sleep and even harder to stay asleep.

Doctors believe it may be caused by an iron deficiency or a lack of the chemical dopamine in the brain.

"Most patients get the sensation when they lie down," said Dr. Otif Husain, who runs Duke's Restless Leg Clinic.

Husain treats many of his patients with small doses of Parkinson's disease drugs, a condition caused by a more severe drop in dopamine. Other doctors prescribe epilepsy medications.

While the drugs work, none are specifically for restless leg syndrome.

"Yes, there are lots of medications, but there's not one approved by the Food and Drug Administration for restless leg," Husain said.

Husain is testing the Parkinson disease's drug Requip hoping to get it approved for restless leg. He feels that will make the condition easier to diagnose and treat. Telander takes Requip every day.

"Without that, I would have it every night," she said.

Although restless leg syndrome usually occurs in the legs, it occasionally affects other areas like the arms. For more information on research regarding restless leg syndrome, you can call

(919) 684-8485

.

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