Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Night Walker: Restless Legs Syndrome

Do creepy-crawly feelings in your legs have you walking the night away? You may have restless legs syndrome.

Restless Legs Syndrome: New Treatments Bring Relief

In 2005, the FDA approved Requip (ropinirole) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe restless legs syndrome. Requip is the first FDA-approved medication for RLS. In 2006, Mirapex (pramipexole) was also approved. Neupro (rotigotine) was approved in 2012.

These drugs act like dopamine. They attach to nerves and change the way they "talk" to each other. In clinical trials, these medicines relieved symptoms of restless legs syndrome in about 75% of people. Both drugs also prevented relapses during long-term use.

Many other medicines have been shown to help people with restless legs syndrome. Physicians often use combinations of medicines to get RLS under control.

Dopamine-like Medicines

These medicines act like dopamine, similar to those mentioned above. Dopamine-like medicines in general work the best in reducing restless legs syndrome symptoms. They include:

Nausea is the most common side effect of dopamine-like medicines. Another potential problem: taken frequently, these drugs can actually worsen symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Called "augmentation," this problem is more common with levodopa than with newer medicines.

Other Medicines for Restless Legs Syndrome

Several other kinds of medicines have shown benefit for RLS. They act in different ways to "calm down" nerve activity:

Restless legs syndrome often relapses, even after an effective treatment is started. "What's very interesting and strange about treating [RLS] is it's a constantly changing landscape," says Bell. "What works for you may not work for someone else, and what works for you now may not work for you a year from now."

Walt Kolakowski, 60, understands this well. Over 30 years, he tried multiple treatments for his restless legs syndrome. For Walt, dopamine-like medicines worked -- but caused too many side effects. He experienced the classic symptoms and progression of severe restless legs syndrome. Today, his symptoms are "somewhat controlled" with gabapentin and hydrocodone.

Fortunately, most people with restless legs syndrome do very well, says Buchfuhrer. For many, he says, the new dopamine-like drugs are "a godsend." In his experience, "95% of people can get free of restless legs symptoms 95% of the time" using some combination of treatments. Goodbye night walking, goodbye "creepy-crawlies." After finding a regimen that works, he adds, "they're the happiest patients -- it's my favorite disease to treat."

1 | 2 | 3
Reviewed on May 20, 2008
Next Article:

My biggest problem from RLS is