Does trazodone cause restless leg syndrome? (5 symptoms)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone causes restless leg syndrome. Furthermore, we will also talk about the link between trazodone and restless leg syndrome, its symptoms, treatment options, and what to do if trazodone causes restless leg syndrome. 

Does trazodone cause restless leg syndrome?

Trazodone may cause restless leg syndrome. However, it is important to note that not everyone using trazodone may experience restless leg syndrome. Trazodone is an antidepressant used for the treatment of the major depressive disorder. 

Trazodone works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and also blocks histamine and adrenergic receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the synaptic regions of the brain that regulates mood, emotions, memory, behaviour, appetite, and the body’s stress response (1). 

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by uncomfortable movements in legs which mostly occurs in the evening or at night time. This syndrome forces people to move their legs and keep roaming around, therefore also disturbing the sleep pattern (2). 

What is the link between trazodone and restless leg syndrome?

According to a research study, trazodone and other antidepressants are associated with restless legs syndrome. The contributing factors that may make you more prone are whether you have any family history, if you are sensitive to trazodone, or if you smoke (3). 

Another research study also suggested that trazodone when given to a patient who was depressed and had sleep issues, experienced restless legs syndrome due to which her sleep problems also got worse. Her doctor discontinued trazodone and soon after discontinuing it, she felt better (4). 

Other research studies indicated that people with conditions like anxiety and depression may experience restless leg syndrome. Antidepressants may trigger restless leg syndrome or may worsen it in some individuals (5). 

What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome while using trazodone?

The symptoms of restless leg syndrome while using trazodone may include:

  • Tingling or burning sensations in legs.
  • Strong urge to move legs while sitting or lying.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns due to continuously moving legs. 
  • The tingling or creepy feelings might get better when you move your legs, but it might not help you for long.
  • These symptoms may be more prominent in the evening or at night time (6).

How to treat restless leg syndrome while using trazodone?

To treat restless leg syndrome (RLS) while using trazodone, you may try the following lifestyle modifications which might help you if you have a moderate RLS:

  • Keep yourself active by having some kind of exercise or physical activity. 
  • Get a massage and take hot showers to improve blood circulation. 
  • You can also use a warm compress or icing to feel better. 
  • Reduce your caffeine intake, especially when nighttime is near. 
  • Use comfortable nightwear and maintain a good bedtime routine. 

If you have a severe condition of restless leg syndrome, your doctor may prescribe you some medicines which are used to treat RLS, such as pramipexole, gabapentin, pergolide, oxycodone, etc (7). 

What to do if trazodone causes restless leg syndrome?

If trazodone causes restless leg syndrome, and it worsens or persists, please consult your healthcare provider. They may suggest you bring changes to your lifestyle and recommend medicines. Your doctor may also gradually taper off trazodone, as sudden discontinuation may cause withdrawal symptoms (8). 

In my opinion, trazodone may cause restless leg syndrome, but it is important to note that not everyone using trazodone may experience this adverse effect. Trazodone has a low chance of causing restless leg syndrome compared to other antidepressants. 

However, if you experience restless leg syndrome while using trazodone, please consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend discontinuing trazodone, switching you to an alternative antidepressant which might suits you the best, along with medicines to treat RLS. 

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