Hard Lessons from Strong Medicines

Restless legs syndrome is a real curse.

People with severe RLS can spend considerable portions of the night twisting, turning, moaning and screaming from unbearable pain or other sensations..

Amazingly, amma was never able to clearly describe what the pain really felt like – every time I asked, she exclaimed that she really could not say! 124

With her RLS symptoms worsening again starting 2011, we approached the same doctor who had given her the medications in 2006. He gave her new tablets, but these were only somewhat effective.

In 2013, I thought I should try something more effective and approached another neurologist. He claimed to be an RLS expert and prescribed what he called were strong medicines. Just one day after she started taking these, she started feeling dizzy and fell down.

I went back to the old tablets she had been using – less effective medicine was anyday far better than very effective murder.

It was a hard lesson for me – poorly thought-out neurology prescriptions can do significant damage, especially for old people. 125 For elders, when it comes to treating less understood ailments for critical parts like heart, brain or the nerves, being conservative with treatment might be the best way to go, unless we are left with no choice other than “strong medicines” or surgeries.

Fig 39: Strong may not be safe: Strong medicines for many ailments should be taken with care, especially by seniors and elders. They may be better off with moderately strong medicines that perhaps only provide reasonable resolution but don’t have too many adverse side effects.

If you still wish to be a bit adventurous and try out new medicines, one way to guard against serious side effects would be to watch out carefully for any adverse symptoms in the first few days after starting the medication – the first 2-3 days are important. Should you observe anything significantly adverse in this brief period, stop the medication immediately and report to the doctor who prescribed it.

Doctors may know best, but even the best doctor in the world cannot hang around us all the time. If we value our lives, we better watch out too.

As far as amma was concerned, it was back to her RLS pain at night.

Lucky for a while <= Hard lessons from strong medicines => Sleepless nights



124. Different people worldwide though have reported different types of discomfort from RLS – itching, crawling, pulling, aching, throbbing, pins and needles, bees biting under my skin.

125. There are 4-5 popular drugs that are prescribed for RLS. A review online of discussions from the users of these drugs suggest diverse side effects, some of which are similar to what amma had when she started on the new drug


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