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Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment

Ask ten people what they use for RLS remedies and you'll probably get 11 answers. Unfortunately there is no known restless leg syndrome cure and no one drug works for everyone. There are, however, several categories of drugs which have been shown to impact RLS symptoms and can provide some relief.  They generally fall into the following categories:

  • Dopamine related medications (such as levodopa, pramipexole, ropinirole and rotigotine) however excessive sleepiness, increased compulsive behavior and more commonly, augmentation, a paradoxical worsening of symptoms, may occur with these medications after extended use.
  • Opiates (such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, methadone, buprenorphine and pentazocine) have been shown to be effective against RLS since Dr. Willis described this disease in 1685. As with all opiates, side effects and long term effects should be considered before starting any new drug regimen.
  • Benzodiazepines Receptor Agonists are also known as sleeping pills and can have valium-like effects.
  • Alpha-2 delta Drugs (such as gabapentin, pregabalin, and gabapentin ecacarbil) interact with calcium channel proteins and are important in activating, deactivating, and stabilizing the electrical activity of the nerve cell.
  • Iron Supplementation has been shown to be effective not only in RLS patients with anemia but also in patients with average serum ferritin levels. 
  • Non-drug treatments are little studied but offer enormous potential. While several home remedies can be found by searching the web, many offer only temporary relief. However, certain solutions can provide continuous, low risk relief.

Link to Hopkins Medicine