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22-04-2012 | Psychology | Article

Vitamins may benefit hemodialysis patients with sleep disorder


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from an Iranian study suggest that vitamin C and E supplementation may help reduce the severity of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in hemodialysis patients.

Writing in Sleep Medicine, Mohammad Kazem Fallahzadeh (Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) and colleagues observe: "RLS is a common and well-recognized cause of insomnia and impaired quality of life in hemodialysis patients. Several therapeutic options are proposed for the treatment of RLS in hemodialysis patients; however, none of these treatments are conclusively effective and some have serious side effects."

As hemodialysis patients have high oxidative stress status, and oxidative stress has also been implicated in the development of RLS, Fallahzadeh et al investigated whether supplementation with vitamins C and E is associated with a reduction in RLS symptoms among hemodialysis patients.

In total, 60 stable hemodialysis patients, aged 18 years or older, with RLS were randomly assigned to take vitamin C 200 mg plus vitamin E 400 mg (n=15), vitamin C 200 mg plus placebo (n=15), vitamin E 400 mg plus placebo (n=15), or double placebo (n=15) daily for 8 weeks.

All of the participants were assessed for RLS severity at baseline and after 8 weeks using the International Restless Legs Scale (IRLS), with higher scores indicating increased severity.

At baseline, mean IRLS scores in the vitamin C plus E, vitamin C plus placebo, vitamin E plus placebo, and double placebo groups were 20.5, 18.8, 21.3, and 16.9, respectively.

All of the groups showed a reduction in IRLS scores over the study period, but the magnitude of the reductions was significantly greater in patients who received vitamin supplementation compared with those who received the double placebo.

Specifically, patients in the vitamin C plus E, vitamin C plus placebo, and vitamin E plus placebo groups showed mean reductions in IRLS scores of 10.3, 10.0, and 10.1 points, respectively, compared with just 3.1 points in the double placebo group.

There were no significant differences in mean IRLS score reductions among the vitamin supplementation groups.

Fallahzadeh and team conclude: "Vitamins C and E and their combination are safe and effective treatments for reducing the severity of RLS in hemodialysis patients over the short-term."

They add: "Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to evaluate their long term efficacy and safety and their possible mechanisms of action."

By Mark Cowen

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