Q. My wife suffers unmercifully from Restless Leg Syndrome. Over the years physicians have prescribed a variety of medications, but only two worked. Both are powerful pain relievers–Talwin and Vicodin. She took Vicodin for a broken rib and it allowed her to get some much needed sleep. She was told that both drugs are addictive and will no longer be prescribed for her. She is in desperate need of something that works.
A. Narcotic pain relievers such as Talwin and Vicodin are not usually prescribed for long-term treatment of restless leg syndrome. This condition often occurs as people are falling asleep. They develop an uncomfortable, creepy-crawly feeling in the legs that causes agitation. Moving the legs or even getting up and walking around helps for a little while, but makes sleeping difficult.
Oddly enough, medications that are prescribed for Parkinson's disease have been shown to be useful. Neurologists have examined Mirapex or Permax and found each drug helpful (Neurology 1999). Your wife's doctor should check on whether such a medicine would be appropriate for her.