Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diphenhydramine And Restless Leg Syndrome

The culprit. 

Did YOU know that Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can exacerbate restless leg symptoms?

I didn't. But now I do.

I have been taking Requip (ropinirole) for my RLS with good results, but over the few weeks my symptoms have been getting progressively worse. It seemed a vicious cycle: my legs would keep me awake, I would take something like TylenolPM which contains dipenhydramine, I'd conk out due to it's sedating effects, but the next night my RLS would feel even worse. And I wouldn't get any sleep. So I'd take the TylenolPM to knock me out, which would....well. You get the idea.

I just couldn't figure out why my Requip suddenly stopped working, so I did a bit of reading and came across this gem found on a Medscape article discussing treatment for restless leg syndrome:
Discontinuation, when possible, of medications that cause or exacerbate RLS, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinepherine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), diphenhydramine, and dopamine antagonists.
Well, now. Made complete and total sense, and fortunately as soon as I quit taking products containing diphenhydramine, my symptoms receded and good old Requip was back on track once again.

Lesson learned.


Christina said...

Woah that is good to know! With my many food allergies sometimes I have to take Benadryl.

Anonymous said...

Glad you figured that one out! Can you tell me what you know about the thought/research that ropinirole will only help RLS for a limited amount of time (I think it is 6 months or maybe longer?) and then it may actually cause symptoms to worsen?

This is how my husband's sleep doctor described the drug, and on that basis, my husband won't take it. Would love to hear your insight. Andrea

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Andrea,

I had not heard that RLS can be worsened by the use of Requip, so am on a Google Scholar search. Thanks for the info, I'll let y'all know what I find out.