How is Restless Legs Syndrome treated

What is the treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome?
What is the treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome?
A woman suffers from pain in the calves. Stretching the calf muscle, varicose veins, leg cramps, or myositis. Orthopedic doctor examines patient
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) currently lacks a cure, but managing its symptoms is possible. Treatment focuses on symptom relief through a combination of approaches including lifestyle adjustments, supplements, addressing associated conditions, and medications.

    Addressing Associated Conditions: RLS can be linked to peripheral neuropathy or diabetes. Treating these underlying conditions can help alleviate RLS symptoms.

    Lifestyle Changes: Making adjustments like reducing caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco consumption, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, engaging in moderate exercise, leg massages, hot baths, or using heating pads or ice packs can improve both sleep quality and RLS symptoms.

    Supplements: Iron, folate, and magnesium supplements may alleviate RLS symptoms by correcting deficiencies.

    Medications: When lifestyle changes and addressing associated conditions aren’t sufficient, medications may be necessary. Finding the right medication often involves trial and error, as there’s no universal treatment. Over time, the effectiveness of medications may diminish, necessitating periodic changes.

    Commonly prescribed medications for RLS include:

    Dopaminergic Agents: Typically used in Parkinson’s disease treatment, drugs like Pramipexole and ropinirole, taken at bedtime, are FDA-approved for moderate to severe RLS. Levodopa plus carbidopa is also effective but may cause side effects and symptom worsening with long-term use.

    Benzodiazepines: Clonazepam and diazepam can aid in achieving restful sleep for those with mild or intermittent symptoms, though long-term use may lead to dependence and side effects.

    Opioids: Reserved for severe cases, drugs like codeine, propoxyphene, or oxycodone can alleviate pain and induce relaxation. However, they carry risks of side effects, dependence, and addiction.

    Anticonvulsants: Gabapentin and pregabalin can improve sensory disturbances and nerve pain associated with RLS.