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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's & restless leg syndrome

12/15/2006

Question:

Got RLS in 1998 followed by peripheral neuropathy in 1999. Present treatment is Limbitrol DS. My current neurologist says Amitrip/CDP (generic) assists the nerves in recovering or assists the communication between them. Second opinion neurologist does not believe this and recommends Lyrica. He also says PN does not lead to Parkinsons but RLS may. My father got Parkinsons late in life. How do I distinguish risks from RLS from PN?

Answer:

The majority of cases of restless legs syndrome (RLS) are idiopathic (no identifiable cause). However, there are certain medical conditions that can predispose someone to developing RLS.

Some of the more common conditions that increase risk of RLS include:

People with Parkinson's disease (PD) can often experience symptoms of restless leg syndrome, but there is no evidence to suggest that RLS causes PD. With regards to peripheral neuropathy, the symptoms of RLS may be an early manifestation prior to finding the actual etiology of the peripheral neuropathy.

In addition, certain medications can cause or exacerbate symptoms of RLS. These include certain anti-nausea, anti-seizure, antipsychotic, and cold/allergy drugs. Other agents that can also aggravate symptoms of RLS include caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Often, the elimination of these such agents may help alleviate RLS symptoms.

There are a far greater number of potential risks and causes for peripheral neuropathy. Given the multitude of causes, a person experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy should seek medical attention for an individualized evaluation. There is no evidence to support that peripheral neuropathy causes or leads to Parkinson's disease. However, as discussed above peripheral neuropathy can increase risk of developing symptoms of RLS. Some of the more common causes of peripheral neuropathy include:

Hopefully, this answer helps you identify certain risks associated with both peripheral neuropathy and RLS.

For more information:

Go to the Parkinson's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University