Restless Leg Syndrome Medicine

Restless Leg Syndrome Medicine, which must be prescribed by your physician, may be used for severe cases of RLS.

Unfortunately, no one drug for restless leg syndrome is effective for everyone with RLS. Individuals respond differently to each drug based on the severity of symptoms, other medical conditions, and other medications being taken.

A drug for restless leg syndrome that is initially found to be effective may lose its effectiveness with nightly use; thus, it may be necessary to alternate between different categories of medication in order to keep the symptoms under control.

Although many different drugs may help with RLS, those most commonly used are found in the following three categories:

  • Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that do not fully suppress RLS sensations or leg movements, but allow patients to obtain more sleep despite these problems. Some drugs in this group may result in daytime drowsiness. Benzodiazepines should not be used by people with sleep apnea.

  • Dopaminergic agents are drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease and are also effective restless leg syndrome remedy for many people with RLS and PLMS. These medications have been shown to reduce RLS symptoms and nighttime leg movements.

  • Opioids are pain-killing and relaxing drugs that can suppress RLS and PLMS in some people. These medications can sometimes be of great help for restless leg syndrome to people with severe, unrelenting symptoms.

Although there is some potential for benzodiazepines and opioids to become habit forming, this usually does not occur with the dosages given to most RLS patients.

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Swanson, Jennifer. Sleep Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1999.