Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome treatment may also include medications, which can help relieve some symptoms of RLS. Doctors prescribe medicines as treatment for RLS in people who have clearly defined symptoms and in people whose symptoms cannot be controlled by lifestyle changes.
No single medication is helpful in all people with RLS, and it may take several changes in medications and dosages to find the best treatment.
Some medicines may not be safe for pregnant women. You should always talk with your doctor before taking any medicines, even over-the-counter medicines.
Specific types of medication used for restless legs syndrome include:
- Benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants)
Dopaminergic agents, largely used to treat Parkinson's disease, have been shown to reduce RLS symptoms and are considered the initial treatment for restless legs syndrome. Even though these medicines help reduce RLS symptoms, RLS is not a form of Parkinson's disease. Levodopa is usually the first medication that is tried, and it is best used to treat mild cases of RLS. Levodopa does not work long term in most people.
If levodopa stops working, dopamine agonists such as pergolide, pramipexole, and ropinirole are used as treatment for restless legs syndrome. Ropinirole (Requip®) is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat moderate to severe cases of RLS.
(Click Requip and Restless Legs Syndrome for more information on this medication.)