There is currently not a cure for RLS, but there are some medications and lifestyle interventions that can help diminish symptoms. Most medications used to treat RLS are not recommended for women who are pregnant.
1. Medications for RLS:
- Dopaminergic agents,
- Two drugs, ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex), are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.
- Doctors commonly also use other Parkinson’s drugs to treat restless legs syndrome, such as a combination of carbidopa and levodopa (Sinemet). People with RLS are at no greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than are those without RLS. Side effects of Parkinson’s medications are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.
- clonazepam and other benzodiazepines may help a person with RLS sleep better at night. But these medications don’t eliminate the leg sensations, and they may cause daytime drowsiness.
- Certain epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), may work for some people with RLS.
- Pain relievers
- Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in too high doses. Some examples include codeine, oxycodone (Roxicodone), the combination medicine oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination medicine hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Vicodin).
2. Your physician can evaluate your medications to see if any of them are exacerbating your symptoms
3. Lab evaluations may reveal deficiency of iron or other vitamins that, if treated, either with supplements or an improved diet could help to decrease your symptoms.
4. Exercise can help diminish symptoms.
5. Maintaining a regular pattern of sleeping and waking can diminish symptoms.
6. You may choose to find other coping strategies to deal with RLS
- Keep a sleep diary, to help you understand factors which improve and worsen your symptoms
- When you have the urge to move, find ways to do so, to help distract you from your symptoms
- Some people have modified their work environment by using drafting tables or counters so that they can stand and move when necessary
- Massage and stretching may help you cope.
- Consider joining a support group for RLS