Restless leg syndrome can be debilitating but you're not alone. Below, we will share various resources, research, and updates to help the RLS community better manage this condition.
What is RLS?
- An overwhelming urge to move your legs, especially along with uncomfortable or unusual feelings
- An urge that starts or gets worse while you’re at rest
- An urge that goes away, either partly or totally, when you move
- An urge that starts or gets worse in the evening
- Another condition, such as leg cramps, arthritis, or muscle pains, isn’t causing it
The Gender Gap
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
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), "untreated moderate to severe RLS can cause a 20% decrease in work productivity and can contribute to depression and anxiety." Other interesting facts about RLS:
- Restless Leg Syndrome tends to worsen with age
- 7-10% of the US population experiences RLS
- RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset occurs prior to age 40
Many medications may lose their effectiveness over time and may even make the condition worse
Link to NIH