restless legs syndrome is based on the type of
symptoms you have and how bad your symptoms are. Getting regular exercise and
enough sleep may relieve mild symptoms. Medicines may be tried when symptoms
are severe and interfere with sleep and daily functioning. If your symptoms are
being caused by another medical condition (such as
iron deficiency anemia), that condition can be treated
Changing your daily routine is
sometimes enough to control your symptoms. Stretching, walking, exercising
regularly, taking a hot or cold bath, using massage, losing weight if you are overweight, and avoiding smoking and
caffeine may reduce or control your symptoms.
If your symptoms are
another medical condition such as
iron deficiency anemia, you will be treated for that
condition first. For example, if iron deficiency is causing restless legs
syndrome, you will be prescribed iron supplements.
For restless legs syndrome that starts during pregnancy, your
doctor may recommend conservative treatment, such as regular exercise and
stretching, to relieve symptoms. Your condition may be reevaluated if it
doesn't go away after you have given birth.
Children who have restless
legs syndrome are not usually treated with drugs right away. First regular,
moderate exercise and regular sleep routines are tried. If this treatment
is not effective, the doctor may prescribe medicine.
If your symptoms do not improve,
drugs may be used to control the urge to move and help you sleep, such
- Dopamine agonists, such as ropinirole
- Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin
(for example, Neurontin).
- Opioids, such as oxycodone (for example, Percodan).
- Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (for example, Valium).
Also, your doctor may prescribe drugs
like eszopiclone (Lunesta), gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant), or zolpidem (for example, Ambien) alone or
together with dopamine agonists, opioids, or anticonvulsants.
your doctor recommends medicine, make sure that you discuss expectations and
understand the potential benefits and risks of the drug. Let your doctor know
about all of the other drugs you are taking. Drugs taken for other conditions
sometimes contribute to restless legs syndrome. For example, antidepressants
improve restless legs syndrome in some people but make it worse in
Treatment if the condition gets worse
continue to have symptoms even though you are receiving treatment with drugs
and are exercising regularly, eating right, and not smoking or using caffeine,
your symptoms may need to be reevaluated. Many other conditions can cause the
sensations found in
restless legs syndrome, including several vitamin and
Your doctor may recommend different drugs or
a combination of drugs. Follow up with your doctor if your symptoms do not