Q. I have severe restless leg syndrome (RLS), but it has been controlled with diazepam. Recently the doctor diagnosed me with an underactive thyroid condition and prescribed levothyroxine. It really made my RLS worse.
He suggested that I stop the thyroid medicine for three weeks to see what happened. It took a full week to get my RLS back under control. I am worried now about him insisting I take levothyroxine for my thyroid condition. Is there anything else I can take instead? I absolutely cannot live with my severe RLS. It affects my whole body, not just my legs, and even affects me mentally.
A. We discovered a case report in the medical literature (Movement Disorders, Nov. 2004) that parallels your experience. The person was deficient in iron and thyroid supplementation made the creepy crawly sensations and limb movements worse.
Perhaps your doctor can check your iron levels to see if you need a supplement. Untreated hypothyroidism is associated with a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including mental sluggishness, depression or confusion. It can cause high cholesterol, constipation, fatigue, swollen hands or feet and weakness, among other problems.
We are sending you our Guides to Thyroid and Leg Pain so that you can learn more about thyroid testing and treatment as well as many non-drug approaches for RLS.