Iron Reduces Parasomnias in Children With Restless Legs
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Thursday, June 25, 2015 08:34 AM
Quick Brief:  Decreased iron levels, restless leg syndrome, and night terrors seem to be associated and also seem to respond well to increasing iron levels in the blood to above 50 ng/mL.


Children who have night terrors associated with restless leg syndrome appear amenable to treatment with ferritin supplements, researchers report.

Eighteen of 31 children diagnosed with parasomnias in addition to restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder achieved relief from their movement disorders with iron therapy.  The author reported that 42% also showed a decrease in parasomnia symptoms. "Iron therapy leads to significant improvement in the periodic limb movement index and restless legs syndrome symptoms." 

Oral iron therapy was administered and the children were followed for at least a year at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.  Ferritin levels were below 25 ng/mL prior to treatment; these were raised above 50 ng/mL with 6 to 12 months of treatment.

We now know that if the ferritin levels are less than 50 ng/mL they should be treated with an iron supplement for about 12 weeks. Although there were no reported adverse events with ferritin in the study clinicians should be careful about treating children because in some of them constipation and stomach disorders have occurred.