Non-drug solutions for restless leg issue

Dear Pharmacist: I've had restless legs syndrome (RLS) for four years. It's keeping my husband awake, and I'm so tired during the day. My doctor is sick of me, and wants to try Horizant now, since Requip and Mirapex didn't work. Should I try? — T.N., Centennial, Colo.

Dear T.N.: Your doctor is sick of you? After four years and all the money you've paid, you should be free of this nighttime calamity. RLS symptoms include an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, and an unpleasant sensation of creepy-crawlies. RLS is not always neurological. It may be a vitamin or mineral deficiency that can be evaluated by a blood test.

I came across an ad for the prescription medication Horizant that said: "Call a health care provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: Thoughts about suicide or dying; attempt to commit suicide; new or worse depression ... acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses."

Whenever I see scary potential side effects — even if they are uncommon — I wonder why patients find that acceptable, and why physicians prescribe drugs that cause more serious problems than the original issue.

RLS is often caused by low levels of the hormone dopamine, which acts as a natural "happy" neurotransmitter in your brain. An easy way to evaluate dopamine is to measure another hormone called prolactin. If that is elevated, you can bet you're dopamine deficient. Dopamine can be created in the brain by taking supplements of the amino acid Tyrosine, along with vitamin B6 (both at the same time in the morning, but ask your doctor if it's OK).

If you take a statin cholesterol-reducing drug, you could develop symptoms that reek of RLS. Only replenishing what the drug mugger stole will relieve your symptoms, so in the statin case (because they are drug muggers of CoQ10, vitamin D and creatine) you must restore those.

This is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to SuzyCohen.com.

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