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Tweaking the treatment for restless legs

or restless leg syndrome sometimes can only work for a time. Then they boomerang," said Kurlan.

The solution, Kurlan and Richard say, might be to switch things up at just the right time, rotating treatment through several different classes of drugs as problems arise, or perhaps before augmentation even appears. Finessing an ideal rotation is a challenge because it differs from one patient to the next. How long each medication should be used or not used, a break called a "drug holiday" which may later allow doctors to use them again, effectively are questions that should be looked at, the doctors say. In one of the cases covered in the report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a short break from the new medications allowed doctors to use them effectively for four more months, while in the other, the break afforded just two more months of relief before the patient needed to again be switched to another treatment.

Previous studies typically have not monitored for the problem of augmentation or have been too brief to observe it, but the team hopes more attention will be paid to the issue in research studies.

"Ultimately, there is hope for those who suffer from restless leg syndrome," Richard said. "But until theres an effective drug we can use long term without interruption, for many patients hope lies in a merry-go-round of medications, not a single drug. Patients and physicians must be braced for this."


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Contact: Becky Jones
rebecca_jones@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-8490
University of Rochester Medical Center
20-Dec-2006


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