Monday, April 30, 2007
Medical Reports: HEALTHCAST: Restless Leg Syndrome
If your legs constantly hurt, and the only way to take away the pain is to move, you are not alone. Seven's Christine Cruz explains restless leg syndrome and how a new treatment may bring relief to those who are suffering.
WSVN -- Imagine whenever you're not moving, your legs are uncomfortable and throbbing.
Like many people, Beverly Cato is suffering from restless legs syndrome.
Beverly Cato: "I thought it was normal. I just thought it was me. A constant need to move. It's uncontrollable."
The pain was so bad she couldn't even get a good night's sleep.
Beverly Cato: "There is no relief, I mean it's like your legs are just constantly tense, and, unless you move, then you get a little bit of relief."
Restless legs syndrome affects up to 10 percent of the population.
Most people feel an unpleasant tingling in the legs and other parts of the body like the arms.
Dr. Steven Cohen: "The key thing is it's not present when they are up and walking. It's only when they are sitting or lying down."
Doctors still don't know what causes it, but believe a metabolic disorder of the nervous system may bring it on.
Dr. Steven Cohen: "A lot of people feel like they are going crazy."
Treatment has so far focused on dopamine -- a medication used to treat Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Steven Cohen: "Why the extra dopamine helps restless legs syndrome we don't know."
But new research shows a patch with the drug Rotigotine is being tried in Europe.
It is a patch that must be worn for 24 hours.
Dr. Steven Cohen: "Not everyone has gotten 100 percent relief, but everyone that I've seen has gotten pretty good relief. The major benefit is you put it on and forget it."
Side effects include nausea and headaches.
Life is getting back to normal for Beverly with the patch. Now she can sit, relax and read without having restless legs.
Christine Cruz: "There is one unusual side effect: Some patients feel the need to gamble. Doctors say it's rare, but patients have to be warned about it. The patch is in the process of FDA approval in the United States."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Stephen Cohen
Suncoast Medical Clinic
601 7th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL