Baltimore Sun

Some say COVID-19 vaccine eased restless leg symptoms

- By Joe Graedon, M.S., and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via www. peoplespha­

Q: I have Parkinson’s disease, which has led to 14 years suffering with restless leg syndrome.

This keeps me awake at night. I also deal with pain and spasms. I take ropinarole for the Parkinson’s. It is also supposed to help with the RLS, but I haven’t noticed much effect.

The only relief I have had was after my Moderna COVID-19 vaccinatio­n. I called it a miracle because the relief was incredible. Sadly, it didn’t last more than a month or so. I can’t wait to have my booster this year. I’ve got my fingers crossed it will be Moderna again. Have you heard of others reacting this way?

A: Two years ago, we received a message from a reader who had been suffering from restless leg syndrome for years. After getting the Moderna vaccine, his symptoms disappeare­d. They eventually came back but at a much lower level.

Since then, we have heard from other readers who have reported reduced RLS symptoms after vaccinatio­n. On the other hand, Japanese doctors report one case of RLS developing in an 87-year-old woman after getting the Pfizer vaccine (Neurology and Clinical Neuroscien­ce, May 2022). So far, we have no scientific explanatio­n for this effect.

Q: I told my endocrinol­ogist that I wanted to stop taking my statin due to reports about serious side effects. He said,“I’ll cut your dose in half, and you start taking grapefruit juice.” Done deal.

My lipids are good and

I’m free of statin side effects so far. I’ve had 71 good years. Would it make sense to stop the atorvastat­in in favor of red yeast rice and grapefruit juice? A:

Grapefruit juice turbocharg­es certain statin blood levels by slowing the body’s metabolism of such drugs. For example, a daily glass of juice boosts simvastati­n and lovastatin by 260% if taken at the same time (American Journal of Medicine, January 2016).

Atorvastat­in interacts less strongly. Grapefruit juice only increases blood levels by 80%. Cutting your dose in half and adding grapefruit juice would put you back approximat­ely where you started.

Some people are more sensitive to statin side effects than others. Because red yeast rice supplement­s frequently contain lower amounts of statin compounds such as lovastatin, many individual­s can tolerate them even if they have trouble with statins. Since you have not experience­d any statin side effects, you may not need to make any adjustment­s.

Q: Years ago, I discovered that applying PeptoBismo­l

to my skin could cure acne. Lately, I have developed seborrheic keratoses. I have been applying liquid PeptoBismo­l to those also with great results. The ugly patches are shrinking and gradually disappeari­ng. A:

More than a decade ago, a reader reported that topical Pepto-Bismol helped speed acne healing. At the time, we could find nothing in the medical literature to support that approach. Ten years later, there is still nothing.

The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol is bismuth subsalicyl­ate. The salicylate part of this compound is related to acetylsali­cylic acid (aspirin). Topical salicylic acid has been used for decades to treat acne.

Seborrheic keratoses are benign skin growths. These round brownish to blackish lesions are scaly and slightly raised. Salicylic acid is used to peel down the rough spots. You are the first to report that Pepto-Bismol might work on these skin growths.

 ?? ?? A patient receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Baltimore. ROSEM MORTON/THE NEW YORK TIMES 2022
A patient receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Baltimore. ROSEM MORTON/THE NEW YORK TIMES 2022

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