Restless Legs Syndrome
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Rls and anti depressants

I am currently taking cipralex an ssri, which has made my rls considerably worse. I've been on it for about a year now and was wondering if I reduce the dose...with my docs approval...if it would ease the rls. I dont want to stop the anti d completely as I am really scared to go back to that dark place.Has anyone had any experience of this ???

51 Replies

Hi dragon, all i know is that a few years ago i had to take anti d's, and it was so awfull, i stopped them as i couldnt take the way it effected my rls, but im sure you are a strong person, and you know where your weakness's are, so i think you will cope what ever you decide, and im sure we will all be here for you if you need us, good luck and i know you can do this :)


Thankyou have more faith in me than I have ha ha .....Thankyou for your support.!


allways there for you , you know that :*


I've been on various ssri s. for about 5 years. My RLS was pretty mild before I took them but has gradually increased over the last few years. After discussions with dr I have gradually reduced the dosage of ssri (I'm on no other meds) and so far not yet entered that "dark place". My RLS is about the same, but bearable, just! It is a balancing act. It makes me wonder if I came off them would my RLS symptoms reduce further? But no way will I take the risk! Good luck and hope you keep that black dog at bay. X


Many thanks honey x


Good morning

I also suffer with depression and I would never mess with that medication so if you feel that the meds have made your RLS worse change the meds? I take Venlafaxine and haven’t noticed any issues with my RLS.

There are many many such meds, keep searching for a mix that works but don’t allow yourself back down that dark path would be my No1 piece of advice.


Bob M


I take lexapro 10 mg daily..has not increased my RLS whereas Wellbutrin, which some doctors say is ok for RLS, makes my RLS much each his own i suppose


Thanks everyone. I haven't heard of that one to google!

Stephenr.....are you in the UK ...interested because I can't get wellbutrin off my doc in the UK. I would like to give it a go!


i think thats a USA med Dragon, Welbutrin


It can be prescribed off label in the UK but my doc says no!! I have an appt on Friday so I am going to tie him down and.beat him with a big stick and breathe fire till he changes his mind!!!!!


need a hand ??


I've been on Cipralex for 6 years and have had RLS since aged about 9 years. I have never noted that the RLS is worsened by any of the medications I have to take. I think the RLS is an entity on it's own and what ever triggers it is separate from the depression or medication. People often don't eat 'properly' when depressed and this can certainly affect restless leg syndrome - have you tried bananas ;-) ? mine is triggered by lack of potassium in my diet.


I certainly don't eat properly....but I'm trying....too much comfort food!!!


My diet is still fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies in a blender..

including bananas.. I eat 2-4 proteins as in palm size

chicken and 2 eggs, a slice of whole grain bread with

a pat of butter. My RLS is still just as bad after 2+ months

of this diet...

My energy kicked in at times but it's a strong struggle to

keep up without fail. I am wondering if it's worth all of

this effort. I'm wide awake so much of the night/day.

I am still lacking vitamin B12 even though I added seafood.

My vitamin D and iron remains a little lower than it should be.

I used to drink 7 cups of milk each day. I am down to 2.

The rest is one cup of coffee, water. ugh.


Comfort food is OK! ;-). I 'sin' most weeks. I have a Very Sweet tooth - but DH cooks from fresh every evening unless we nips to the chippy occasionally. How much fruit and veg. do you eat? You can up that in the form of fruit drinks 'with bits in' or make your own smoothies .......... the other thing I have found in the last couple of years is, if I wait for 20 mins after my main meal, I don't need a pudding. I might want one initially but the 20 mins allows my tummy to feel full ........ that way I don't over-indulge on puds so don't put weight on ;-)


I am trying really hard with my diet but some days it just goes out of the window. Actually I don't eat much fruit...mmmm good point! It's just that fruit never tastes good...not to me anymore...


Giving up those comfort foods along with RLS and RA made

me a mad woman. I talked to my doctor. My mouth kept saying

prayers that God would just take me in his arms to die from

this earth. I don't know if I really felt that way but I had moments.

Half of it is getting away from Vicodin. I am so dependent on it

to get my legs to lay still. I took it every other night or 3rd night.

By choice, I no longer have it but I was crying for it last night

and today too.


Whenever my RLS gets worse from another med, the only thing that brings it back to the way it was is a few days of tramadol. Like others have said, Wellbutrin is the "best" anti-depressant for RLS. I hope you're able to switch to it or its local equivalent.


I think wellbutrin is in a class of its own. No real alternative ....but if anyone knows any different......!


I just wasn't sure if it went by a different name, that's all I meant. Like tramadol is also ultram. And neurontin is also gabapentin. Ropinirole is requip. Pramipexole is mirapex. etc.


You and I have talked about our anti-depressants already..

Cutting back with the doctor's approval is one thing but

getting off the medication is something very serious to consider.

I'm in need of my Paxil that I would rather be dead than without it.

I suffered panic attacks multiple times a day for no reason. I

wouldn't go back to that life for all the tea in China...

My life was horrible.

You had different symptoms than I did. Weigh the decision

carefully. You can try and make it or can always

restart the higher dose of medicines if depression rears

it's ugly head in your life.


I know's a rock and a hard place it's just I am getting no peace from the rls any more. But if you take the rls out of the equation I do feel fantastic....I cope and feel like the person I always should have been!! All due to the anti d. So I really don't want to stop them at all. It might not even be them which is making the rls worse. I could stop them and it make no difference

How are you getting on with your new diet....I've been meaning to ask you for ages


Thanks for setting the anti depressants. If you look up a little

on here you will see that I am still going strong on the diet thing.

I am having a most difficult time wondering why my B12 has not

come up very far. I am doing the shots by a nurse plus taking

a good multi vitamin, extra B12. It just bugs me a lot because I

am doing everything just right.

My vitamin D and Iron rose a little bit.

I want other foods so much but the doctor is liking it when

they take blood to find out if I am eating healthy and it shows.

When I ate comfort foods, it showed mal -nutrition even though

I was eating 2000 calories.

I would love a slice of cheesecake or a rich chocolate cake..

I daydream about that rather than a hot love scene... haha.

I could never resist a man who feeds me chocolate cake..


Really good you are doing so well...I just can't get going with it. I saw the nutritionist lady and am now armed with all the info but sort of absentmindedly eat crap....she did tell me that she has been eating well and clean for so long that when she does eat cake....she feels quite ill!!!!

Could you not have a treat say once a week....cheesecake and cuddles!!!!!


Once I start, I'm doomed. =/

I haven't been at it long enough to get

sick on comfort foods.

My own mother told me that I can't keep eating

this way forever and if it's not helping RLS, she

asked why I am doing it. maybe it's a control thing.

(she suggested it)

Yeah, my life feels out of control. I feel like I am in

some sort of I am disconnected from my

own life at times from lack of sleep. It's like a hangover

that lasts and lasts... My short term memory isn't very

sharp these days.


I am taking Quetiapine, Citalopram and Mirtazepine for depression and Clonazepam for Rls. I am losing the struggle to function as a 'normal' person. I have had my 6 months of psychiatry and psychology so i am on my own. My gp wont change my medication so thats it for me. Each time i refer my gp to the information and medications you good people post he is not interested. Thanks for your help.


Peter that's awful....any chance you can change your gp. There are some understanding ones especially the younger ones I've found. Good luck and keep talking to us. There is lots of good support on here ...we might not be able to fix it but we can listen x x x


I don't know about those other meds, but I think you should try something else for RLS other than clonazpam. I'm so sorry your doctor won't let you try other meds. Can you switch doctors? In my admittedly non-doctor opinion, you should be on Wellbutrin and tramadol.


Peter.. request your psychologist call your doctor..

They need to start talking to get you some help.

Find a younger doctor if you can.

Keep us posted on how this turns out.

Clonazepam, Diazepam did nothing for my RLS.

I think that those are muscle relaxers.. I'm not even

sure if it's a muscle thing going on for RLS.

Prescription Pain killers are the only kind that helped with

RLS. Take them sparingly. The same dose starts not working

after a few months.


Mirtazepine is given for anxiety. I self medicate in that if I feel unwell for more than 3 days I up my doseage of Cipralex and the beta-blocka for 5-7 days. My GP is quite happy with this regime. Acceptance that I need to take these meds for Life made a huge change to how I felt .......... I still find that I must NOT plan too far ahead, nor must I take on too many committments - it was hard saying 'no' but I have learned that in order to maintain my health, 'no' is a big part of my vocabulary these days.

As for RLS - bananas? lack of potassium?


Thanks for the support and advice. I am seeing my gp on 27th. I am getting a load of pain in my legs which is making life worse and me whine on to you about my problems. Sorry.


Don't be sorry....keep talking!!!!


I really mean this - thank you for being the first person to say keep talking. I went back to work after a year off with depression and i think i have the plague because nobody talks to me and i suddenly have an office to myself. Thank you.


You are very welcome peter. Mental health is a very misunderstood problem. I speak from experience! I think a lot of the time folk just don't know what to say and how to approach us . Should they mention it or not! Don't ever feel you cant be open especially in a safe anonymous place like this. Folk here can listen and maybe help. I also feel that talking about your own stuff may help someone else who is going through the same stuff and is not yet confident to talk. Sending you peace and love x x


Peterpillpopper.. on the 26th they are sticking tiny pins

and needles into my skin and muscles to gather information

on my reactions... it will help them determine what's going on...

They are also taking some of my spinal fluid... to test for proteins.

I am getting a MRI to check for pinched nerves and whatever else

can relate to RLS....

I have RLS so severe that it's affecting my body in a negative way.

My sugars rose as well as my heartbeat and my blood pressure..

I am very physically fit and have a healthy diet... so it's got to be

the effects of no sleep. (my reflexes are very slow) I pass out

occasionally or faint... so they are taking this seriously.

I am even getting some bone marrow taken but that's on the 20th.

They are looking to see if I have some kind of infection in the

bones themselves. I am freaking out about that part...

Apparently my reactive C proteins are up there... from a recent

blood draw. That usually indicates an infection.

RLS is my main and almost exclusive symptom.


Yikes I feel for you but at least you are getting some help. Bestest wishes x x


Yikes - sounds like you are getting some real help. Best wishes for what you are going to go through - I hope the results help you get some respite.


Yikes - I was wondering how you got on with all those tests although I don't suppose you have results yet.


I have a lot of loose ends. I would not recommend or wish

for another shock test to the nerves. It produced some results

not related to RLS... and the test hurt me so much. I have some

nerve damage to my feet and lower legs. It's a sensory loss.

It's a forever damage. (darn it) My AC-1 test was never ever

above 7.2 (diabetes) I am considered non-diabetic.. by the

standards of any doctor... My AC1 is 6.1 and has been for

a long, long time. Looks like that 7.2 incident harmed me

even though my sugars were very low... It may be caused by

a medication that I took... I'm sad, bumming actually...

The MRI came back. They missed doing my cervical spine.

It's the main test that my doctor ordered so I have to squish

back into that machine... the cervical spine controls the

lower legs and feet.. so I will update you on that one once

I am given a date pending insurance approval. What that

means is that I was stuffed in a tube for almost 2 hours

for nothing. At least I know the thoracic and lower spine

is perfect. (Amen for that!)

My blood tests showed that I have MGUS...meaning that

I am very prone to a mufti-melanoma aka bone cancer.

I went through bone scans that took probably 20 pictures

(x-ray) of every bone in my body. The verdict is still out

on that one... I am scared about that one! The purpose

was to check for tiny bone lesions to indicate that it

is drilling holes in my bones(it, being cancer) No news

is good news and it's been a week... My results are

being read at Mayo Clinic..the mother of all hospitals.

(I need prayer from all of you just to keep me calm)

I have RA... I've known that for quite a few years. Some

of the treatments used to control those symptoms are

cancer fighting drugs...just short of putting Drain o, a

plumbing product... in my veins... it's worse than

chemo. I brave those doses every month..several

times. I must say that they kept my body from the odd

deformities that usually go with RA.. the cost of each

of those drugs is around 4000 a dose.

I am so frustrated that they can treat everything else

that I have including now high blood pressure...but

so little is known about RLS... Not a single doctor

including the neurologist knows exactly how to

stop those horrible symptoms! I learned that narcotics

are NOT the answer... I will become immune to the dose

of any narcotic in less than 4 months... meaning I will

need more and more until I reach a deadly dose... They

get around that by switching back and forth different

narcotics and combine them but the end result is missing

years and years of my life.. I won't remember them very

clearly.. as a matter of fact.. to get rid of that hung over

feeling, I will start using more coffee to get myself going

and the cycle will get worse and worse!!!

The entire bottom line so far is that I spent many

thousands of dollars on medical tests that will only

tell me if something is out of place, not functioning

properly but I will still have RLS.. I will still be a case

of trying coping methods... that is no treatment and

no medical cause... IT must be a sickness of my brain.

It's real to me.. it's destroying my life, my marriage, being

a mom even though my kids are grown.. I am 46 yrs old

and unable to keep a business schedule.. I stumble around

and get on my knees to pray for a decent night of sleep.

I get angry with God for not hearing me cry for sleep.

I take the max dose of Pramipexole. The doctor doesn't

understand why it isn't working so now I am being passed

around from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist. The

last specialist said that it's probably because of Paxil..

My heart sank because I am doomed to death without

it. I won't live that way.

I am starting a relaxation class and talking with a councilor

who understands this she says.. either she suffers like

me or she found the secret cure. She sure doesn't

seem to be bothered by it at all.. so maybe I will learn

something from her or through me, she will discover

just how fortunate she is to have it occasionally. We

met up 3 times in the last my request to help

settle me down a little..(guys, I am very upset by all

of this going on) She's great for venting... not good

or realistic of her advice to me. She told me to imagine

beach scenes and beautiful places.. but she doesn't

know that my legs arrive there and start running long

before my mind can get there... I am too busy trying

to calm the legs looking for that comfortable position.

It's as if they are not part of my body but have a soul

and mind of their own.. Only a person with RLS would

understand that concept that I just mentioned.


Yikes...I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. I don't know what to say you and here for you......stay as strong as you can ....there must be a reason we have to suffer like this...but it's so not fair x x x x


Yikes - I have been trying hard to think of something to say to you. There is so much that I cannot put into words but feel for what you are having to deal with. I am really sorry. Some of what you have written is really similar to my experiences and how it is ruining my life. I wish you strength to battle on. Warmest regards. Peter


My happy face and disposition are totally

the opposite of how I am feeling. Just letting

a few of you in on my secret life is comforting.

I am trying super hard to not let my feelings

show to others. I am scared, very much alone

and afraid to complain to family, friends in

my life.

I'm trying to make amends to people that I

have been crabby with or short with.. while

I was trying to hold down a full-time job.

RLS took that away. I am sorry for other's

who are going through difficulties in holding

down jobs or have no family sympathy..


insect, I also take Mirtazapine and Quetiapine (Seroquel) I started the Quetiapine at bedtime for help with sleep. Lots of doctors in the US use that for sleep now. do not know about the UK. Both can make RLS worse in some people, but they have not affected me like that, and the panic attacks have all but stopped now. ;) LIke we always say, different meds affect people differently, so it is trial and error. Mirtazapine is in a class by itself, like wellbutrin, and both are not in the SSRI class or tricyclic class like amitriptyline (tricyclic). That one drove me over the edge with RLS years ago, but a few people, a very few , can take that one if they have RLS. It is high on the list to avoid on Good luck!


It is quite difficult to find the right balance of medication that provides some sleep but also doesn't leave you groggy the next day. It was thanks to Nightdancers link that i discovered that there is more to it than "take 2 twice a day". For example i now take the citalopram late as possible as it doesn't help the clonazepam. My Psychiatrist has mentioned the possibilty of ECT. I wondered if anyone had tried this for depression and if it affected their RLS?


I take Paxil. It's for panic attacks/depression. I can't tell you if it

makes RLS worse. I won't give it up. I'd rather not be alive.


I just want to get you all and have massive healing hugs!!!!! It really breaks my heart to hear all our struggles....I don't pray but I'm doing big wishing for us all!!!!


You count too... such an upbeat, irreplaceable friend...

I would miss you so much if you went on a long vacation.

I do pray.. and I feel ignored by God lately.. so along with

prayer, I am wishing, hoping, loving everyone who is open

and honest as you are, finds some answers..finds a restful night..

and wants to keep talking on here. =))) Love you guys.. tons!!!

(and I really mean that!) This group of people are a life line for me.

I know that I'm not suffering alone.


Right back at you yikes. That's a lovely message and its warmed my heart. I've met some really strong women recently who are having quite an effect on my outlook on life. I really appreciate your friendship as I've thought from the start from your words that you are a strong good person. X x x


I take my medication around 9.00 p.m.. That way any 'side effects' can ease off during the night. What dose do you take? Perhaps a hike might be in order but it can take up to 3 months before we realise that we feel 'different' or better. It can be a long haul and at times I was in despair - but 10 years down the line I have a Life again. Don't give up!

Something as simple as 'ibuprofen' taken an hour before bed can ease my RLS. As for feeling worse after eating cake, 'refined' sugars can slow our systmes down. If I eat a lot of yummy but 'crap' foods I feel really tired, low in mood, sluggish ...... DH will tell me I've been at the cake tin again >rolls eyes< ........... which is why I know use cakes as a treat.

ECT is for depression. You will need to find out exactly what the Psychiastrist is suggesting this for and if he/she has knowledge of it affecting restless legs.


Have you ever tried another class if antidepressants?


Interesting question...what did you have in mind!!? I'm in the UK and would love to try bupropion but can't get it !


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