Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is Treating Restless Legs Syndrome a Gamble?

news you may not know

This Is

Going To Hurt...

How did this happen? You don't even like peanut butter, but here you are, munching away at your third grader's PB&J sandwich while she... Hmm, come to think of it, she's probably begging food from her friends at school right now. Why couldn't you just let it go? It was a long shot at best. Oh, well.

You just wanted the thrill, just had to gamble - even if it meant betting sweet little Sarah her bus would be at least three full minutes early. Like you said, what are the odds? The last time the bus was actually early had to do with the whole daylight savings fiasco of '04. But, like some bright yellow, rattling Phoenix, here it came, sputtering its way down your lonely little street - four-and-a-half minutes early.

The tears were hard to bear, but a bet's a bet. The PB&J sandwich settled the deal and little Sarah trudged sadly off to school. Watching her shuffle toward the bus, you try to remember when this all began. Then, it strikes you...

It was about the time you began taking those little pills to treat your Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Hmm...

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic report in the medical journal Neurology that treatment for RLS may indeed have its darker side. RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move one's legs. Sufferers often experience odd sensations, like burning and twitches. A class of medications known as "dopamine agonists," used in the treatment of Parkinson's, is often used to treat this disorder.

But, the scientists at Mayo report the treatment may lead to impulsive gambling. The same phenomenon has been found in Parkinson's patients treated with dopamine agonists. Though relatively rare, researchers believe the problem has been previously overlooked in RLS patients.

One woman with RLS reports having lost more than $140,000 after beginning treatment for RLS. After being switched to an alternative treatment, her compulsive gambling behavior disappeared.

Now you know. You pick up the phone, make a quick call to your doctor and schedule an appointment for next Tuesday. Ah, very good, that should settle it.

Just then the back door opens and in walks Sarah. She looks pretty good, considering. She drops her backpack on the table, unzips a pocket and pulls out a Snickers candy bar.

And you wonder to yourself, "What are the odds..."

To read more about the study, see this from Reuter's Health.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee. Tim. You just never know the side effects that can come from any medication.

Which makes me wonder if food can produce similar behaviors.

I mean, gosh....what are those potato chips, or molassess cookies, or even that extra shot of decaf in the afternoons making me do that I really won't be doing if I didn't eat or drink them?

Thanks, Tim. You always give readers something to worry about...uh, I mean ponder. (sorry, didn't mean to say that, the coffee made me do it).


4:05 PM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

I shouldn't laugh, but . . .this article made me chuckle.

2:12 PM  

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