Medication for Restless Legs Syndrome
Narcotics are strong, pain-relieving medications that are used for severe cases of restless legs syndrome. Types of narcotics include:
Narcotics are usually prescribed for their ability to induce relaxation and diminish pain. Possible side effects of narcotics include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and the risk of addiction.
Benzodiazepines are used as treatment for those with mild or intermittent restless legs syndrome symptoms. Examples of benzodiazepines include clonazepam and diazepam. Although benzodiazepines help patients obtain a more restful sleep, they do not fully alleviate RLS symptoms. Benzodiazepines may cause daytime sleepiness and they may also induce or aggravate sleep apnea (a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep). Therefore, they should not be used in people with this condition.
Anticonvulsants are medications that are used to treat epilepsy. However, they may also be used as restless legs syndrome medications. Examples of anticonvulsants include:
Anticonvulsants are used when dopaminergics fail. They are more effective in people with daytime and evening symptoms and in those who describe the unpleasant feelings in the legs as painful. Possible side effects of anticonvulsants include dizziness, fatigue, and sleepiness.
There is not one single medication that is helpful in all people with RLS, which is why it may take several changes in medications and dosages to find the best treatment. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider before taking any medicines, even over-the-counter drugs.