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Celeste NP
Celeste NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1002
Experience:  Family Practice with emphasis in Women's Health, Forensics, Urgent Care, for 14 years.
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insomnia, crushing headaches, dizzy, disconnected

Customer Question

Recently (3 weeks ago) I stopped 3 medications for depression, Lexapro, Lamictal, and abilify. As expected withdrawal was pretty intense; insomnia, crushing headaches, dizzy, disconnected. Those symptoms have started to fade and are pretty much a non-issue. Recently I have developed extremely restless legs that are achy, and heavy. The problem is most severe at night and causes a great deal of discomfort. I have never had these problems. I am in good shape, run, lift weights, bike etc. My question is could this restless leg problem be a side effect of quitting the drugs or is it more likely another factor?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Celeste NP replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for your question tonight.

If you stopped the medications all at once and were not tapered down on them, it is likely that it could be a side effect of withdrawal.

However, the other factor is that the medications you were on could also have masked or helped restless legs and you are now discovering that you have this.
Hopefully, that makes sense to you.

You can do things like stretching before bedtime, rubbing legs down with warm lotion and massaging legs. Then if it does not resolve in another 2 weeks, you will need to see your provider.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That makes sense. If it is RLS do these symptoms also present during the day? Periodically I get achy, heavy legs during the day that get better with excercise. As I begin to nod off I get jerking in the feet sometimes or my whole leg. I am just worried that it could be something more severe like an arterial or circulation problem.
Expert:  Celeste NP replied 6 years ago.
Arterial gets better with rest and terribly painful when you walk.

You are describing restless legs perfectly.

However, see if you can feel your pulses on the top of your foot. See if they are the same strength as the ones in your wrist. Should be a little less and sometimes they are hard to find if you don't know where to look.

How old are you?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Pulse seems fine on tops of feet. I am 37 6'5" 220 pounds athletic. I really want to avoid going on any medication that is like an anti-depressant. I was constantly tired, unmotivated, and void of emotion. What are the treatments and are there drugs for it that aren't in the same class with Anti depressants and anti convulsants?
Expert:  Celeste NP replied 6 years ago.
Yes, Requip is used to treat this and most all my patients tolerate it well, in fact I can't think of any that I have taken off of it.

However, I would want to make sure that is what it is, so please see your provider if the stretching and leg massage does not help.

It is less likely that it is an arterial issue.
Celeste NP and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am definitley going to my doc. I just wanted to be armed with some information. He isn't going to be happy with me when I tell him I cold turkeyed 3 meds at once.
Expert:  Celeste NP replied 6 years ago.
HA! You are correct, he will not be happy about that, I sure wouldn't have, you could have serious complications, most don't get over the withdrawal as quickly... And the leg issue may still be withdrawal as we discussed.

It can have an effect on your muscles. That is why I wouldn't jump to another medication until 4-6 weeks afterwards.

Good Luck! Hopefully, you won't have to find another doc! HA!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you very much. You have been very helpful. I will be sure to tell him the time line.
Expert:  Celeste NP replied 6 years ago.
Your welcome!