Restless Legs Syndrome

Hello, Great to see a Forum for this!

I have had this for a year now and it's disturbing my partner more than me but I still feel shattered most mornings.

I would describe it like a charge slowly building and becoming unbearable then I need stretch or twitch legs. If I keep my legs moving, even slightly it's bearable.

I have been on sertraline for a long time, a mild dose to treat anxiety and depression, I think it must be linked to this.

I have undergone blood tests but apart from slightly raised cholesterol I'm fine.

My first day back at work after two weeks holiday was awful last night. It's got to be linked to anxiety and stress.

Any help or assistance would be very much appreciated.


3 Replies

Hi Bikmisee and welcome - though sorry you have cause to be on here. What you describe are classic rls symptoms. Working while suffering rls is exceptionally difficult.

I don't know specifically about sertraline but a lot of anti-depressants are linked to exacerbated rls. There is a list of substances on the UK rls website - you have to rummage around a bit to find it.

Did you get your serum ferritin levels tested when you got your blood tests? It is important to get that figure and not just to be told you are normal - normal for normal people can be as low as 20 but for those suffering rls, it should be over 100. You could possibly phone your GP surgery and ask them about whether the serum ferritin levels were checked and if so what was the figure. Raising iron levels is associated with an improvement in symptoms for a large majority of rls sufferers. Apart from eliminating potential exacerbants, it is the single most successful non-pharmaceutical intervention for rls.

Many people find magnesium helpful and there are a number of passionate supporters of restrictive diets eg fodmap and/or wahls. Hot and cold baths (with or without epsom salts), stretching and gentle exercise are also often helpful. Alcohol is frequently found to be an exacerbant and so is ice cream.

Apart from these, there are pharmaceutical options. Dopamine agonists are most often prescribed and are very effective at first but can cause terrible problems ultimately. Anti-convulsants such as gabapentin/pregablalin are now the recommended first treatment. They take a while to become effective (about a month) and can have unpleasant side effects. They are also often more effective in conjunction with another med - usually an opiate. So finally the opioids are a final frontier treatment for really severe refractory rls.

Good luck and I hope you find some means of relief.


You are right. Sertraline is a culprit. There are anti depressants that do not cause RLS- Trazodone for example.

Also check the list of other meds that make it worse, eg most anti histamines.

If you’ve been on Sertraline for a long time but only had RLS for a year, there could be other causes, like low serum ferritin. Get a blood test to check.

Hope you find another drug that can relieve your anxiety without causing RLS.

Good luck



I've been suffering for 30 years now. So sorry to hear you're having to put up with this, it can be awful at times.

Luckily it does sound like the medication you're taking is likely the cause, so hopefully once you stop this you're home free.

If not then I wrote everything I've learned about combating RLS here:

All the best.


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