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Restless Leg Syndrome

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I am a long time user of over the counter codeine/paracetemol. I take about 10 to 15 per day but the recommended daily maximum is only 8 so I know I am playing with fire and risking my liver every day. I am trying to cut down but it is very hard. I have been using these pills every day for more than 5 years. There are a lot of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms I get when I try to cut down but the worst is the restless legs I get. My legs feel all jumpy and jittery as soon as I try to relax and go to sleep and it is impossible to fall asleep with this feeling. It is really really unpleasant and frustrating. Do you have any advice on anything I can do to relieve the restless legs problem? I try exercising to tire myself out but it doesn’t seem to really help.

  • Jill Edwards Says ...
    Jill Edwards

    Restless leg syndrome can have various causes. The codeine can both be used to treat it as well as cause it as a side effect. I had a look around at various advices and I liked this web-site because it had various suggestions without telling you what you had to do. (http://www.helpguide.org/life/restless_leg_syndrome_rls.htmI) I think it is one of those things that takes a number of different approaches acting together to get a relief, so for example I thought that stretching rather than heavy exercise would be helpful.  Thinking about yoga or Tai Chi as good balancing exercise practices.


    When I myself have had it, it has seemed to be associated with digestive disturbances and so it may be associated with the effects of codeine on your digestion. Have you thought about acupuncture. Acupuncture is also used to help people who are suffering withdrawal symptoms and ear acupuncture is usually available from agencies helping people in withdrawal from drugs.


    I am wondering what kind of support you are getting with dealing with the codeine/paracetemol problem. As you say it is necessary to cut down slowly. There are agencies for long term prescription use, but these have mostly been dealing with benzodiazepines. It may be useful to look out such an agency, if they will work with you, you will have support to cut down slowly. You may feel a little negative about approaching a drugs agency, but the fact of the matter is that you are taking a morphine based medication and you would benefit from the advice of someone who can treat that condition. They can advise on safe levels of cutting down and as I mentioned some can supply ear acupuncture.


    I don’t know if you are able to talk to your doctor, but that would be a good place to start. I don’t know from your question where you are in life as it were, what support you have around you and crucially how much you are able to function, what you are interested in as well as this problem. In my view it is useful to build a supportive life, one with interests and activities and to use this supportive structure to help you move on from the prescription drugs. This is a process and it does not happen overnight. But just working entirely on ones own, is not usually effective.


    So exploring what would you be doing if I were not using prescription drugs, how would your life be different. What do you want more out of life? These are all just a part of the answer. I think you are beginning a journey to make changes in your life. You may want to meet some support on your journey. I hope that you will be successful over time. Take care.


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