Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So it seems like every time I turn around something else is causing me to have restless leg (RLS) problems. Most notable are allergy meds. Despite taking 12mg of chlorpheniramine every night for a third of my life, for the last couple years, it gives me RLS. I can take it to help me (a) breathe and (b) sleep, but I have to wash it down with tonic water to cut the leg jitters or I can't sleep.

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping recently, as well as getting angry a lot, and I think I've figured out that it comes from the OTC Safeway brand Zyrtec. WTF? I've taken Zyrtec and generic Zyrtec before and not noticed anything out of the ordinary, but I took it for about 3 weeks in a row this time and it was like I turned into a stranger. Yeah, I'm used to not sleeping right, but this was excessive. I tried not taking it for a couple days, got the sniffles, took it again, and had not only bad sleep (waking up constantly, enough to regain consciousness every 40 minutes at least) but the next day I got *so*angry* I could barely see straight (even with my special eyes). It took me a while to realize that what was making me toss and turn in bed was actually restless leg syndrome but I finally figured it out. Add the Angry? I'm off that sauce.

Over the weekend, I got several extremely itchy bug bites. The ones that didn't get meat-tenderizered early still itch. (The later, treated ones are gone already.) They were keeping me up, despite the anti-itch cream, so I took Benadryl. I've had mixed results from Benadryl (diphenhydramine) before - in that it makes me sleepy, but not. But it knocks the allergic reaction six ways to sunday, so sometimes it's worth it. Last night? Not worth it.

After a long drive and not-sober weekend, I drove out to Pasadena for a booksigning last night. It was wicked fun (even though I didn't get my eBook signed...) and I'm glad I went but I was pooped. I was in bed by 10:45. I was taking benadryl by 11:30. I was up, jumping around shaking my legs from 12:45 to 3:30 this morning. I'd get up, drink a few ounces of tonic and try to sleep only to be wrenched from sleep by nerves in my legs that would not freaking stop until I got up and marched around, jiggling my right leg. The tonic did nothing, I just had to wait 4-5 hours for it to wear off. I was a total wreck today.

I took a few minutes at work to look up RLS and it turns out that Benadryl is a well known RLS multiplier. Yay. But Zyrtec? And chlortrimeton? ugh. I wonder if the allergy shots are making me more likely to flare up because some alcoholic beverages' breakdown products give me RLS about 4 hours after I drink them, as well. The magical internet advice fairies also suggest taking iron and/or magnesium supplements. I do tend to run low on iron and have been craving MEAT recently, so I figure that's worth a try as well. Anyone else have ideas? When my quinine fails me, I'm lost. And tired.

To top that off, my jet-flush toilet has a leaky valve. The part is cheap but has to be mailed to me, so I have to turn the supply valve on and off for a few more days. I'm too tired to cope with that but what can you do.

I'll check back in a bit with the regularly scheduled happiness posts, but until then, it's all cranky.


Junior and Orion said...

Sorry to hear you are having so many troubles. Bad sleep is not fun, but adding the other issues.....yuck! Our Meowm is no help with RLS and she was going to suggest benadryl for the alleriges and sleep, but you have already gone over that. Maybe a pharmacist can suggest an prescription allergy medicine that won't affect the RLS, andmaybe you can get lucky and one with help with sleep as well. That is what we will be purring for.

Junior and Orion said...

Oh and Meowm says there was a cold medicine that used to make her angry when she took it. She whapped someone upside the head one time. We hope you didn't get to that point.

CrankyOtter said...

Well, I've found that trazodone is the worst - not only do I get angry, but I turn into The Hulk. I might even have changed color a little bit. While taking it was the only time I've ever sworn at someone at work. It was bad. It took a while for it to wear off too.

Turns out that whatever opoid based pain reliever I took for my tonsils made me cranky and angry as well, so finding out that some other drug (or more likely drug-breakdown-product) causes anger wasn't as surprising this time. It's scary though because I can feel myself be so angry, and realize that it's too angry, and be unable to stop it. Finding the trigger is key.

And Benadryl will either make you sleep like a baby or keep you jumping around (probably the same effect that causes hyperness in kids causes RLS in adults). It's apparently well known that some people will react badly to Benadryl, but a majority of people just get sleepy, so it's in almost all OTC sleep aids (I hear Bayer PM uses something else, for what that's worth.)

S said...

If you're contemplating taking magnesium supplements, I'd recommend this magnesium/calcium combo http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00028LTZU/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000GG0CHE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1QRER6519GRHATRM3KH6

It tastes a bit like vanilla cake frosting. I've found it does wonders for my migraines. Not sure how well it works for RLS, as my legs are only sometimes restless, and I can't remember if it correlates with nights I've forgotten to take the supplement.

farmwifetwo said...

They told me to give eldest Benadryl when the behaviour went out of control when he was smaller... was a calmer... Laughs, sputters... We don't touch that stuff... it made it 100% worse.

See... there is a spot, in tiny print that says "may cause hyperactivity".

Granted it's been about 5yrs since I tried it.... but.... never again.

We're drug free - sometimes claritin if needed - except little boy takes 1 - 3mg tablet of melatonin to stop the stim so he sleeps.