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Restless Legs -- Quinine Tablets Safe at 32 Weeks?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've had Restless Legs Syndrome off and on since I was, I don't know, 5 years old. Last year I finally found a foolproof remedy -- Hyland's Leg Cramp Tablets with Quinine. They work! Two before bedtime and no horrible twitching.

Then I got pregnant and stopped taking the tablets. The RLS went away for a couple of months. Now it's back with a vengeance. The minute I lay down, my legs start to twitch. I'm at work right now and feeling "restless." It's driving me mad. I can't sleep--although it's not just the RLS; I also have mild SPD, relentless heartburn, and a co-sleeping 3-year-old who can't sleep unless her toenails are embedded into the small of my back.

Anyway. Can I take the Hyland's tablets at 32 weeks? I googled "quinine" and "pregnancy" and discovered that it was a Class X drug that can cause birth defects and premature labor. Not good. But I think that these studies were referring to high doses of quinine, for people with malaria. Is "homeopathic" quinine the same? Here's the ingredients from the Hyland's bottle:

Ingredients: Cinchona officinalis 3X, HPUs (Quinine); Viscum album 3X, HPUs; Gnaphalium polycephalum 3X, HPUs; Rhus toxicodendron 6X, HPUs; Acontium Napellus 6X, HPUs; Ledum palustre 6X, HPUs; Magnesia phosphorica 6X, HPUs in a base of lactose, NF.

I know nothing about any of that stuff, I just know they work. Can anyone offer any guidance here? My OB, I'm sure, wouldn't have a clue.
post #2 of 8
Homeopathic remedies are nothing like the full strenth versions of the ingredients. They are highly diluted solutions of them....so diluted there usually is not even one molecule of that substance left in the remedy. I'm not an expert, but from the research I've done almost all homeopathic remedies are safe during pregnancy. They are probably the safest "self-medicating" remedies a pregnant woman could use. I do remember in a book I read recenlty (I believe it was called "The Pregnancy Encyclopedia of Alternative Therapies") it mentioned only one remedy to avoid because it could possibly stimulate labor. I don't believe it was Quinine...but you could look for the book at the library. Or maybe you could go to a homeopath and have them help you with it, if you can't find a definitive answer that you feel comfortable with. HTH
post #3 of 8
We use quinine tablets to get a stalled labor going again; so no, I would recommend against anything with quinine in it.
post #4 of 8
I have restless legs, too. It's really a horrible affliction--people don't understand how it can affect your life!

I would not take it either unless you talk to a naturopath or other homeopathy expert who can confirm that the amount of quinine is as miniscule as the other homeopathic ingredients. Let us know what you find out, please!

Good luck--I'm looking forward to the end of pregnancy and breastfeeding so I can take my usual meds for this. If quinine ever stops working for you, ask your doctor about Zanaflex, by the way (after pregnancy/breastfeeding!).
post #5 of 8
My DH keeps a bar of soap under the bottom sheet. He swears it keeps the restless legs away. He's been doing it for about 6 months now and it really does seem to help, though I don't know why!
post #6 of 8
Restless legs is a syndrome that can have many causes. Sometimes medications are the only therapy that works.

Sometimes restless legs are caused by poor circulation, anemia, not getting enough of certain minerals, and/or dehydration.

Some people who have sleep apnea have restless legs.

Here are some suggestions that *may* make your restless legs better. I know it sucks--I had it during my second pregnancy, just at night. For me, it is always a combination of dehydration and anemia.

Take a calcium/magnesium supplement. Get plenty of potassium via foods (like cantalope and bananas), and eat salt to taste.

Do pelvic rocks several times a day. Get a leg massage, or better yet, hire a massage therapist to teach your partner how to perform a daily leg massage. Wear a belly/maternity belt (this can improve circulation in your lower extremities).

Make sure you are not anemic. If you are, you can take 1 tablespoon of black strap molasses a day to help improve your iron levels.

Regular daily exercise will improve your circulation. Taking a warm bath right before bed (I would recommend adding "Batherapy" bath salts, available at Walgreens) will help temporarily improve circulation. Drink at least 3 quarts of water a day, spread out throughout the day. At night, every time you get up to go pee, take a huge drink of water (I know, I know, but hydration *is* really important!). Stretching, pelvic rocks, and yoga before bed can sometimes help. So can seeing a chiropractor.

I'm sure someone else has some other great suggestions; these are all I can think of for now. I know it is awful; I felt like I was going insane--I was just angry and extremely irritable, and I didn't even know why. I felt like i just wanted to cry and hurt someone, I was so angry. I thought it was all hormonal, and was scared I was developing some wierd psych issue--then a friend recommended some of the above suggestions--I figured out that increasing my iron and increasing my fluids helped me emensely. It didn't always completely eliminate my restless legs, but it certainly provided a large amount of relief.

I hope you find some relief soon!

post #7 of 8
lori, those are GREAT suggestions! I've got a bit of restless legs myself and have noticed it goes down if my mineral content goes up and if I am getting enough potassium (i dislike bananas so I have been drinking a big glass of oj instead). i hate pills, but might have to start taking the calc mag again.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for your suggestions and commisseration! It's true that people who have never had Restless Legs just don't get how awful it can be. (My husband thought I was making the whole thing up--for years!--until he happened to hear a story about it on NPR.)

I guess I'll skip the quinine tablets for now. I'm going to dig around and see if they're safe to take while breastfeeding--with my first daughter I tended to get "restless" during late-night feedings, which I'd like to avoid this time.

Lori, I think I've tried, through the years, all of your suggestions except the cal/mag supplements. I'll go out and get some of those today and hope they make a difference.
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