Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New medication for restless legs syndrome

Requip now has a competitor. The National Sleep Foundation reports that Mirapex has been approved for the treatment of RLS:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Mirapex for the treatment of moderate-to-severe primary restless legs syndrome (RLS), a common condition in which an irresistible urge to move the legs impacts a person’s quality of life and ability to sleep. A recent analysis of NSF’s 2005 Sleep in America poll published in the journal CHEST found that 9.7% of adults reported symptoms of RLS at least a few times a week.
Mirapex is made by Boehringer-Ingelheim and since 1997 has been indicated for treatment of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In
clinical trials it was shown that lower doses (than used for Parkinson’s disease) improve RLS symptoms, sleep satisfaction, and quality of life. Side effects of the drug may include hallucinations, dizziness, sweating, and nausea and Boehringer-Ingelheim warns that Mirapex may cause patients to fall asleep without any warning, even while doing normal daily activities such as driving.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New ICD-9 code for restless legs syndrome

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that the ICD-9 code for restless legs syndrome is being changed from 333.99 to 333.94:
The ICD-9 Coordination and Maintenance Committee recently published an addendum announcing a change in the code for restless legs syndrome. Effective October 1, 2006, the new code is 333.94. Please note it may take time for insurance companies to institute the change. For more information, visit

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Alcohol and sleep

Question: Will drinking a glass of wine at bedtime help me to get a better night’s sleep?

1 to 2 drinks of an alcoholic beverage will often help a person to fall asleep. Larger amounts of alcohol, when used on a regular basis, can interfere with the ability to fall asleep. Any amount of alcohol near bedtime can lead to awakenings later in the night, as the effect of alcohol is wearing off.
Alcoholism can lead to insomnia that may last for 2 years after alcohol use is discontinued.
Alcohol can make snoring and obstructive sleep apnea worse. Persons with untreated sleep apnea should avoid alcohol near bedtime.
Rather than treating your insomnia with alcohol, a better option is consulting with a primary care physician or sleep specialist for safer and more effective treatments.