Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome

What is the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome?

What is the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms, which may involve implementing lifestyle adjustments, taking supplements, addressing associated conditions, and using medications.

Management of Related Conditions

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) may arise from various underlying issues like peripheral neuropathy or diabetes. Addressing the root cause can lead to alleviation of RLS symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Implementing specific lifestyle adjustments, such as reducing consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, can enhance symptoms for individuals with mild to moderate Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Moreover, adhering to a consistent sleep schedule, engaging in moderate physical activity, massaging the legs, utilizing hot baths, and applying heating pads or ice packs can contribute to improved sleep quality and alleviation of RLS symptoms.


Iron, folate and magnesium supplements to correct deficiencies can decrease RLS symptoms.


Medications typically serve as an effective option, particularly if supplements, lifestyle modifications, and addressing associated conditions fail to alleviate symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). However, there isn’t a universal medication that works for everyone with RLS. It may be necessary to experiment with various drugs before finding the most effective one. Additionally, the efficacy of medications may diminish with regular use over time, necessitating periodic changes in medication.

Commonly prescribed drugs for treating RLS include:

  • Dopaminergic agents (drugs which increase dopamine): These medications are mostly used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but have been shown to improve symptoms of RLS. The medicine has to be taken at bedtime and is considered the initial treatment of choice. Pramipexole and ropinirole are the two drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of moderate to severe RLS. Levodopa plus carbidopa have also been reported to effective in RLS. But the drugs have several side effects and long term use of these medications can lead to worsening of the symptoms in many patients.
  • Benzodiazepines: This group of medication (such as clonazepam and diazepam) is useful in people with mild or intermittent symptoms to obtain a more restful sleep. But long term use of the drug can lead to dependence and several other side effects.
  • Opioids: These drugs (such as codeine, propoxyphene, or oxycodone) may be used to improve pain and relax people with more severe symptoms. Besides side effects such as dizziness, nausea, exacerbation of sleep apnoea, these drugs can cause dependence and addiction.
  • Anticonvulsants: Gabapentin and pregabalin are anticonvulsants which can be effective in improving sensory disturbances such as creeping and crawling sensations and nerve pain.