Restless Legs Syndrome
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Treatments For RLS Without Side Effects?

I'm a train driver and I've had to stop work since I've been taking Ropinirole due to the possible side effects, it could mean the end of my career.

I've spoken to my GP about any possible treatments that don't have any side effects that would affect my ability to work and she is going to investigate it for me.

Are any of you aware or are on any medication/treatment that I could take and still carry on driving trains?

9 Replies

Welcome Dave,

This is a tricky area. Between what you can take to function perfectly well and what your doctor will sign off on.

Eg- I'm on oxycontin 10 twice a day. Am ok to drive heavy machinery and work chainsaws every day. Not professionally. But that probably wouldn't pass for a job site situation.

Also it depends on your reaction to different meds. Gabapentin and Lyrica can work out ok for some. If youre allowed low dose opiates- then Tramadol or oxycontin could be options. These two have side effects of itchiness and insomnia- both of which go away after a time.

The other aspect is - do you need 24 hr cover? Do you get rls when in the cabin? Can you distract yourself safely?

There are options for you, but it will take some experimentation.

Good luck.


I work shifts so sleep is important and the lack of sleep is one of the main problems.


Hi Dave,

I am sorry to hear that you have had to stop work since being prescribed Ropinirole. I sincerely it does not mean the end of your career. I have read your previous postings and note you have had RLS for years. I wonder if your symptoms have worsened as this often does happen over time.

By the way, how did the Arterial Doppler testing go?

I expect you have looked at your diet to see if there are any triggers, had your ferritin levels checked (should be higher that normally considered ok, if an RLS sufferer). You no longer have caffeine or alcohol in your diet. Have you tried magnesium spray on your legs?

What other medications have you taken, which presumably were not of much help, before being prescribed ropinirole?

I hope you can find a solution so that you can continue to work.


Yes, my symptoms have worsened over the years. I regularly use Magnesium Spray and it helps. The Arterial Doppler testing was all OK, nothing of concern. the only medicine I did take (unofficially) was Zapain (my wife prescription!) and that did help me get to sleep but I wouldn't be allowed to drive trains if I was on Zapain.


Dave, have you had your ferritin levels checked by the GP? Should be higher than what is considered the "norm" for someone suffering with RLS.

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That is a truly dreadful situation. I would give an honourable mention to the Relaxis Pad as it is not drug related at all. It takes a while to get used to and isn't fail safe but I am finding it very useful in helping with my rls. I do still take medications however. It is SUPER expensive also - it cost me well over €1,000 because I ended up paying import duty on it also - but they used to do a 1 month trial period after which you could send it back if it didn't work.

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Hi Dave. I don't know where you live, but if you live in the U.S. you might try kratom. It's legal here in all but a few states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) but I'm pretty sure it is illegal in the U.K. I've used it for four years and it's been great for me. It works somewhat like a mild opioid. I've gotten no side effects at all.


I'm in Great Britain but thanks.


Hi again Dave,

Just a thought. Have you tried compression long socks? As we all know what helps one person will not help another. one jot. If you have not, may be worth a try perhaps?


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